Your Christian Cowboy Resource

By Scott Hilgendorff/Cowboysofthecross

Those who know me well know that when I say I'm at the office, I'm likely using the wifi at a McDonalds. Where I moved to recently is in the middle of nowhere and I don't have internet access so once to twice a week, instead of working in the library, I hit a McDonalds.

There's one in particular that I used to go to the most as it was closest to the house but also because it had Christian owners. When you walked in, you were met at the window with a sign offering a Sunday 10 per cent discount if you brought your church bulletin with you. The employees always greeted you with a 'hello' as you walked in and the person behind the counter, no matter who it was, used “yes sirs” and “thank you ma'ams.” You usually got a “have a blessed day” with your receipt.

Employees were cheerful and while you ate, there was Christian music playing over the speaker system. It was a peaceful, happy place to work.

Recently, the ownership changed. Now, when you walk in, you're greeted with the sounds of managers yelling at employees assembling burgers because nothing they are doing is right or fast enough. You can hear f-bombs and a range of other 'cuss words' dropped in the conversations those employees are having. At any time, there's usually a cluster of employees on break mingled with off-shift employees that have just come there to hang out. You're never sure who is working behind the counter or which cash register because the employees there are usually engaged in whatever conversation is taking place with the ones on break and the ones just hanging out. There's no please or thank you, just a very chaotic atmosphere and noise and yelling. Employees hang around outside the door smoking or sitting with their shirts off, their backs pressed to the glass next to the table where I've watched an elderly couple with offended expressions on their face as they can hear the language coming in through the glass. While you eat, instead of Christian music, you get to listen to the employees hanging out complaining about each other and their managers. Last week, a twenty-something barged in demanding a manager because one of the employees in the parking lot supposedly said something rude about his girlfriend. When the manager wouldn't come, the man made threats and was threatened with employees calling police. Then, while I was leaving, I watched two employees being kept separated by a manager in the parking lot as they threw their shirts to the ground and were about to throw down beside the drive-through.

The drive-through remains busy but I've noticed fewer and fewer people eating inside the restaurant and I seldom go there anymore.

Now, it's important to understand we can't be condescending about this and think that because we're Christians, we're better than everyone else. That's not the point of this.

But what is important is understanding the difference between a Christian attitude and a worldly one.

 While we're far from perfect, the way the McDonald's was operated by Christians shows a significant difference from one managed by non-believers. It was a positive, happy place to be and even work. Now, it's chaotic and even hostile. When I shared this example at cowboy church recently, one cowboy said it sounded like I was describing a bar.

That's what happens with a Christian attitude, we start to show the fruit of the spirit, no matter how rough and tough a cowboy we are. It takes a cowboy's strength to show these, especially in tough circumstances.

Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

When we become Christians, this is what begins to show in our lives and is also what we can practice. You can see the influence it has in a place of business. It can be the same on the rodeo grounds and bull riding arenas.

When we focus on who we are as Christians, there's a positivity that influences the world around us.

The idea behind ‘laws’ of attraction and power of positive thinking focuses entirely on ourselves and our desires. We put ourselves above God by acting like gods ourselves We then attempt to control our own outcomes and, even if what we are pursuing is good, it is ultimately selfish. In our desires to succeed, we attempt to use these unnatural and flawed principals to draw to us people and outcomes that can help us meet our own ends.

The Christian attitude is focused on glorifying God and revealing Him to others. When we show the fruit of the spirit in our lives, we then naturally push outward a positivity that influences the world around us rather than trying to attract outcomes for personal gain.

In a McDonald's, it created a nice place to be and without thinking selfishly, there was still the benefit of increased sales. Without it, there was chaos.

At a rodeo or bull riding, do you ride or compete better when things are peaceful or chaotic? Do you focus better, concentrate better and perform better when your mind is at peace or full of the noise of anger from a bull rider cussing out a judge, a traveling partner coming to blows over owed money and a girlfriend creating drama.

When we see the fruit of the spirit ripening inside us, a few things start to happen: we handle the chaos around us more positively, we let less bother us and find ourselves simply not getting into situations or relationships that lead to negative drama. Everything around us becomes more naturally positive because, while God will allow us to go through trials and struggles, He's still a God of peace and order. When we follow Him, every outcome can ultimately be seen as something positive—even a trial or struggle; a riding slump or barrier-breaking habit.

The fruit of the spirit, growing inside of us, produces a positivity in us that is about our life in Christ, not about our wants and desires. That positivity then glorifies God and the rest is just the proverbial gravy that makes everything else better for us and around us.

Part 3

When we follow Biblical teaching, we can’t help put put positivity out there around us


What you might feel negative about:

Holding on to the desire to make your own outcomes. Feeling like the fruit of the spirit makes you soft.

The new ‘positives’ to take away:

The fruit of the spirit causes a natural positivity to be shown that can show Christ to others. It brings order to chaos and without even trying, can make rodeo and bull riding easier.