An old TV show from the 60’s starred Clint Eastwood and gave him his big start in “da business.” The title of the show was Rawhide. The main theme was “driving cattle” from one location to the other. The show featured cowhands who rode horses all day and herded cattle over the lower part of the United States. They would sometimes be out on the trail for six months at a time and the constant “driving” was always interrupted by some unseen problem along the way. Most of the time the distraction they encountered would cause something called a “stampede.” Then the otherwise calm and peaceful cattle would become a wild unruly herd of runaways and as a force they would overturn wagons, knock over riders on horses, and become a rolling force of chaos, until the cowboys could get them back under control and made them peaceful again. The best way to move the cattle to their location in the fastest time without losing any was to push them to go a little bit faster than they wanted but slow enough to keep them all moving in the same direction. it was quite a feat to get it done and extra special care was needed to make it happen all along the drive. The TV show had a song and the chorus went like this “Move em on, head em up, head em up, move em on, move em on, head em up Rawhide!” Here are some characteristics of those leading a cattle drive.
1. They knew where they were going
2. They knew what they were taking there
3. They knew what it would take to finish the drive
4. They knew they would have to push the cattle, but also keep them under control
5. They were uniquely talented to control the cattle and put in leadership
6. They were constantly moving forward
Cattle drives resemble the movement of the early church and how it grew. Those in the early church knew their home was in glory with Jesus and they wanted to share the message so others could go there too. They also realized that whosoever could go there if they accepted Jesus. They realized it was going to be a struggle and they might have to give their lives, but it was worth it. They knew they would have to work with disobedient people who tried to put their own agendas into what was being done, and move those people from where they were to where they needed to be. They were “called” and “anointed” believers whom God had chosen to do his work and who God had uniquely gifted to do it. They knew they had to go somewhere, and sitting in one place wouldn’t do. These believers were the early foundation of what we have today and call the church. It is important that we learn from their lives and how God used them to spread the message of Christ and follow their examples to keep it ROLLIN, ROLLIN, ROLLIN!! We, like them, need to keep drivin and movin forward to gain more disciples, more believers. Why? So they can experience the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. It is important that we keep adding to our numbers so we can fulfill the Great Commission given to us by Jesus Christ.
There are always obstacles that pop up along the way when we are driving forward. Some of these obstacles, no, many of these obstacles are people. Much like cattle, they have a way in their head that seems right to them, but we must direct them into the right path. How is that done? Whatever way that works. It may be an old, dead church coming back to life after years. It may be a new church plant that works best. It may be a house church that reaches their neighborhood and develops those believers. It may be any different kind of arrangement, but the main thing is to be obedient to “just do it!” You will know you are tied to traditions, which are very dangerous, when you are only willing to only do it one way. The end result of that kind of attitude will surely end in spiritual stagnation, which is probably what you are experiencing already to be so tied to those traditions so strongly. In Acts. 12:24-25 the end result of all of the obstacles the early church had to deal with was “the word of God continued to increase and spread!” When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John also called Mark. The Word of God continued to spread! Hmm. Very interesting. The religious leaders had done everything they could to keep the message from spreading and keep their traditions in control, but the Word of God continued to spread, despite their efforts. The cattle were on the move and it was time to pick up the pace and “get with it.” This point in church history is very important because in Acts 13, the very next chapter, we see the First Missionary Journey of Paul beginning, and there was no holding it back any more. ROLLIN, ROLLIN, ROLLIN, RAWHIDE! Heeeee Haw! That’s when it started to get exciting. God was on the loose!! No traditions, or dead spirited religious people in their path. Just lost people, ready to hear the gospel, and lives ready to be changed, and spread the message even more.
It is time to get this whole thing rolling again. Time to gather the cattle and get them moving faster than they planned on. Oh, by the way, we are now dealing with a stampede that took place where the cattle started going in their own direction and chaos ensued. It is now time to get the cattle back and moving in the same direction again. If a cow won’t be driven back to the herd, then you have to rope them and drag them there. Time to drive the cattle forward toward our heavenly home. Time to push the limits and not look back. How are we gonna do it? Whatever way works!! What is waking us up to drive the cattle? The Word of God. Who’s plan are we gonna follow? God’s plan. Proverbs 14:12 ” There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” God’s way is the way to life!! So…..let’s go. When? NOW! Now is the time for our missionary journey, so let’s let the Word of God spread again and again and see lives changed and leave the dead to bury their dead and us serve the living God! Remember, if we are not with Jesus, then we are against Jesus. Who’s side are you on?
The Pilgrimage continues….