I wanted to tell a little horse story this morning so I am posting a picture of the last horse I owned who I named “Last Chance.” I don’t know if anyone from the church in Mars Bluff South Carolina even reads my post or not, but I am sure if they did they would remember my little red mare named Last Chance! Lol!
As the story goes I moved to S.C. in 2000 to pastor a church, I drove a black Jaguar in those days and found out quickly most people in that area lived at the end of long dirt driveways, many lived in small communities on dirt roads. With all the dirt roads people lived on, I found my car got so dirty all the time, it needed to be washed every day. Anyone out there that knows me well, you would know washing a car everyday would not be an acceptable option!
Well, then a firestorm came on my brain and I went and found a horse to buy to do my visitations on a kind of impulse! It seemed like a great Idea at the time, I loved horses and had not owned one for six years since we left N.J. In retrospect, I probably should have discussed this with my board and even Linda 1st, but it has been a few years and everyone is over it now! ha ha ha. One nugget of wisdom I have learned over the years is to allow your team members a voice in the decision making process and allow them to brainstorm with you about how you represent their church. When people feel their opinion is valued, they also take ownership and become enthusiastic about what becomes of any project!
In finding the right horse I had some guidelines to follow:
1. It was going have to be cheap with the amount of money they were paying me to pastor this church!
2. It needed to be Red, because I have always been partial to red horses ever since the days I marveled over the wonder horse of the 70’s Secretariat (Big Red).
3. I had in mind a Tennessee walking horse being I was in the role of a southern gentleman preacher now in the Carolinas where my father in the faith and great grandfather Henry Goff had been an evangelist in North Carolina.
In truth I had always wanted a Tennessee walker ever since I was 16 years old and 1st laid eyes on one in Falcon N.C. on my Uncle Ally’s farm. His daughter Sarah rode these beautiful walking horses and to be honest, I had been jealous for about 30 years! Hey it is never too late to confess your sins! ha ha ha!
As it turned out I saw a one line ad somewhere for this horse and drove over and made the deal fast, because it seemed like a steal! I came to find out later that this was an expensive brood mare that was supposed to be put down because of infertility and an insurance payoff! Well that’s the story anyway, the man who sold her to me without papers, would not even let me know the horses name and had me promise not to sell her to the killers! I was so happy to get a horse that met all of my guidelines for practically nothing, I would have promised him just about anything!
When I thought about re-naming this little mare, I thought of how her life had been spared and that I may have been her “Last Chance!” The name fit and it helped me get a lot of laughs down those dusty back roads in Mars Bluff SC! I can almost taste the sweet tea and see the smiles of those folks when I close my eyes and remissness about those times! you know the most important lesson the Lord has repeatedly taught me is to love people right where they are!
Well, with me being a Yankee in the south, it had its downside, people used to say to me: “Preacher, you’re not from around here, are yooouuu?” (I think it must have had something to do with the Civil War), and driving a Jaguar did not sit well with some either, so this little mare turned out to be a real icebreaker! When I went calling down these dirt roads in isolated little communities the people would focus on “Last Chance” instead of my accent or my fancy car.
I would let the kids sit on my horse while I talked to their parents. I would even walk them around like a pony ride a bit. It would kind of ingratiate me to these genuinely kind people, it would break down barriers and the Lord seemed to honor this humble effort!
It is kind of funny, 20 years earlier; I had a foolhardy entrepreneurial brainstorm that never made much money! The idea was to combine my love for horses and my need for supplemental income by starting a pony ride concession on the board walk on the Jersey Shore. I must admit, it was not the best Idea I ever came up with! Lol. Boy could I tell some stories about that summer, but that a whole story in itself!
One thing for sure I was prepared for was how to safely give kids a ride on my little mare Last Chance! In the Lords economy, nothing is wasted, not even our misspent youth!
Well as I got in the habit of going down a new dirt road each visitation day, I developed a biblical text kind of dialogue to talk to people when they would ask me my horse’s name. I would tell them how I was my horse’s last chance before she was going to be killed and hinted that none of us knows the hour we would die!
I would naturally bring that truth to the relevant evangelistic question:
“If you were to die today, and stand before God and He asked you: Why Should I let you into my Heaven?” (after all, I am from the offspring of an horse riding evangelist). Of course we would talk about the reality that all men are sinners and God is Holy.
I would usually allow the conversation drift towards Revelation 6:3-4 where the bible speaks about the 2nd seal being broken in last days and the Red Horse coming and all peace being withdrawn from the earth! ( http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+6%3A+3-4&version=NIV )
Sharing the Good News with people is a privilege and helping people to understand that only Jesus can make them holy and able to come to a Holy God was an honor to me then and still is today.
The Red horse, the right moment and a good story helped some to address the true issue of the brevity of life, the lostness of man and every person’s desperate need for a savior!
I wonder if there is anyone out there today that this story might help make a life changing decision?
Hey I will take the liberty to ask anyone reading this horse story today:
Do you know the Jesus as your Savior? Do you truly know your eternal destiny? If not, make a decision right now to believe in Jesus Christ and be saved before it is too late! Do not delay making a decision today, call on His name before you see the Red Horse Coming, it might be too late by then!