I grew up riding and training horses. We were horse people, and all through my childhood and youth years I was either on a horse or getting ready to ride one. From time to time I would go out with others and help them wrangle cattle. In other words, gather cattle to get them in a pen so they can be loaded on a truck, or just for vaccination. One particular time I went with a group of wranglers way back into the woods to gather some cattle who had been set free in an area of about 500 acres. When we unloaded our horses the owner of the cattle said, “Now these cows haven’t even seen a human for three years, so be ready for anything!” That caused all of us to be on edge a little bit. You see, we were heading down hills and valleys that had many dangerous parts that could cause a horse to fall with it’s rider. The fall could be five feet or fifty feet, so we knew our work was cut out for us to get these cattle to the sorting pen. We made our way back to the area of the fields where the cows were known to “hang out” and started finding them, sometimes one, and then four, and then 20. Before long I had rounded up about fifty head of cattle, and then we had the difficult task of getting them back to civilization. It seemed like it took at least an hour before we finally caught of sight of the sorting pen. I was so relieved to see it, cause the cows were looking at us like we were aliens and I thought they could bolt at any time. As we approached the pen, one of the workers started opening it to let the cattle in, and that’s when it happened. The owner tried to get the attention of one of the riders to bring his group up first and his way of getting their attention was by blowing his horn on his truck. NOT GOOD!! One of the cattle groups turned and ran down the hillside and that prompted the other cattle to do the same and we had ourselves a stampede!! You know they did. They went right back to the field where we had found them and started grazing again. It took another 2 hours to get them back up to the corral and finally get them in the pen. That story parallels the scripture in 2 Timothy 2:14-19 where Paul was telling Timothy to keep the people on task and to not keep “wrangling” with words. He said it was useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.
The term “talk is cheap” not only applies to those who are talkers and not doers. It also applies to those who just talk without much thought about what they are saying. I fall off into this trap from time to time and it can surely get out of hand. Some people are natural word wranglers, and they want to get in a good fight about scripture, or politics, or something else and all they do is talk talk talk. A sound faith is centered around diligence in the task at hand, not talking. That diligence is very focused and purposeful. A person can get distracted though and most of the time that distraction comes from wrangling about words. Arguments on minor subjects can try to “pen up” the real focus for our lives. Word wranglers get people distracted and going down the wrong path and before long, we forget what we are doing and why we should be doing it. It’s called confusion!! In Galatians 1 Paul was astonished that those believers could be turned from sharing the gospel by word wranglers. He said in verse 7, “Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and trying to pervert the Gospel.” Paul dealt with this all the time and his warning to Timothy was to stand on his foundation in the faith and don’t get distracted. In fact, he said that all the chatter just leads to ungodliness and related it to gangrene. The best way to get rid of gangrene is to cut it out at it’s core and remove it.
Now, back to the horse story. When we got those cows to the gate and they heard the truck horn go off, it was a warning that all was not right. It only took one small group of cows to turn back for all to turn and head back to safety. When they were being herded along, everything was ok, but when they saw the pen and the way it was going to imprison them it didn’t take much for them to stampede in the other direction. We are the same. We have been given a “truth filter” that helps us discern what is right and what is wrong. The filter can get stopped up from time to time if we don’t keep it clean (as in our life). That filter helps us stay on task and keep our life moving in the direction God has called us to. There’s a chance some of you are being herded by false teaching into a situation you know is wrong. You don’t like the circumstances, and you don’t like the surroundings. I’m honking the horn to give you warning that false teachers are everywhere and they start out as “word wranglers” and then morph into something else after they’ve got you. Turn now and go against the flow of the herd and sprint away from those false teachings before it’s too late. Sadly enough, we now live in a world where Christian Pastors will get in a pulpit and lead the cows of their congregations toward the pens of mediocrity and death. All in the name of argument. See them for who they are and stand firm on your own convictions from God’s Word. Don’t let them wrangle you and take you some place you know is not right. Mooooove. Remember, complacency can become compromise so quickly. It’s time to stand on His firm foundation.
The Pilgrimage continues…..