CGPS January Devotional

When I was a young boy, I dreamed of being a cowboy and riding a horse across the open plains making a cattle drive. I read numerous books about the west and watched any movie or TV show I could that was about the old west and involved cowboys and their way of life. I was enamored with the life of a cowboy and living out on the open range. They always seemed to be able to handle any situation that came up and endure any hardship they encountered.

Woven throughout all of the stories was the “Code of the West.” These were the unwritten laws by which every cowboy and frontiersman lived. According to this code, there were just certain things you would not do, such as spit in the presence of a lady or try on another man’s hat. There were also matters of honor that when practiced revealed the depth of his character and integrity. These included being courageous, hospitable, loyal, considerate, and honest. Being honest was most important. A cowboy’s word was his bond. In action and in word, he lived by the Golden Rule, even though he may not have ever read the Bible. Thankfully, the Bible influenced the contents of the code.

Zechariah 7:9:10 says, “This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

Although Zecharia was directing this to the judges of the people, we can easily apply this to ourselves. We are commanded by Jesus to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves. We should also be compassionate, considerate, and merciful to those in need. Of course loving all people all the time can be a challenge, especially when it comes to someone who has hurt us, but we must remember that love begets love. If we try to hurt those we dislike, we will most likely end up disliking them more. However, if we show acts of kindness to those that we dislike, even if we simply act as though we like them, we may eventually find a way to truly like them.

The “code of the west” was born out of necessity, from the understanding that treating each other fairly and honestly was the only way to survive. It’s still a good way to live, not only because the Lord has taught us to, but because the best way for us to thrive on this earth is to love each other as God has commanded us to. We can all learn a few things from those old cowboys; what “code” do you live by?

Written by Bill Dorminy, Director of Information Technology