When I was a boy the most popular shows on television were the Westerns. The three major networks provided a veritable smorgasbord of choices. I fondly remember sitting next to my father as we would watch Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Wagon Train, The Rifleman, Rawhide and many others. My favorite was Wagon Train and my hero of that series was Robert Horton who starred as scout Flint McCullough. His job was to ride ahead of the wagon train in search of pastures and fresh water and things that might pose a danger for the families traveling west. Strange as it may seem, I view my pastoral calling in much the same way as I understood Flint McCullough’s job.
Every week for the past 35 years I have attempted to ride on ahead in search of green pastures and quiet waters. For me this search is not done on horseback but is done when I spend time searching God’s Word and then bringing back to the congregation that I serve (my wagon train) the Good News of God’s wondrous provision. At times, like the wagon train scout, I bring news of danger, warning those whom I serve to take an alternate route. Along the route that we are traveling together we often find challenges, battles with enemies, easy times of crossing the grassy flatlands, rigorous challenges of winding our way through the high mountain passes, constantly moving from that which is comfortable and convenient towards our ultimate destination, the city whose builder and maker is God.