Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vending Machines and Cowboys

All day long near the arena at the county fair grounds people would walk up, put money into the vending machine and walk off with their choice.  You know the snack or drink in A4, C3, P0.  You get the point, money goes in the poison of choice comes out and the purchaser goes merrily on their way. 

Near the end of the night at the fair when it's late and the crowds are all up on the midway a young cowboy walks over from the barn where he's been caring for his 4-H project horse.  He's dusty, dirty and just tired from being out of his element.  He's seen folks walk by and put money in and get their purchase and walk off.  He pulls money out of his pocket hits the appropriate button and nothing happens.  He tries the buttons again, still nothing.  Now this young cowboy is tired, and thirsty and his project horse had aggravated him by acting up in the arena during judging, so he's already frustrated.  He tries the buttons again, this time with a bit more force and this time he gets what he wants.  He too finally walks off with a drink, but when he's finished with it he's not satisfied like he thought he'd be. 

He goes back to the barn and an old cowboy from down the row says, "I saw you during the judging.  Rough day huh?"  The boy looked up and said, "Yeah, I don't understand it.  I did everything right, practiced with my horse, spent time grooming him. Heck, I even prayed to God and told Him that if I did well in the judging I would go to church every Sunday."  The old cowboy looked down at the young cowboy thoughtfully then said, "There's your problem."  The young cowboy looked up and said, "What?"

The old cowboy responded by pointing out to the vending machine, "See that machine over there?  It does one thing.  You put money in and you get out of it what ever's behind the buttons you push."

"Yeah, so?" responded the young cowhand.

The older and wiser cowboy said, "Well God aint like a vending machine.  He blesses folks even when they don't deserve it and sometimes doesn't bless those folks that to you and I look like they do deserve it.  You see God loves us enough to give us what we need when we need it."

The young cowboy just sat and stared as the old cowboy walked down to a stall to give some feed to a horse.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8