Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series
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"Feddersen’s Fables" has the story of a rancher who rented a famous stallion, to sire a champion by one of his thoroughbred mares. The owner of the majestic beast delivered and unloaded the stallion directly into a corral, and the next day, the rancher rode another horse out onto the meadow and attempted to drive his mare to the corral. Playing shy and "hard-to-get," or perhaps truly afraid, she would run in any direction except toward the corral.

So the rancher switched his strategy and attempted to drive the stallion out into the meadow. Not trusting the stranger, the horse would not turn his back to him. Every time the man tried to walk around behind the horse, it would kick out or quickly turn and face him. After about an hour of this, the stallion realized fully that the rancher was trying to drive him toward the open gate, but by this time his distrust of the stranger had grown to such proportions that he was determined that the gate was the last place he would go.

The two of them stood pitiful and helpless in that corral, looking at each other. The horse was afraid to let the stranger out of his sight and the rancher was not willing to approach that wide-eyed mass of muscle head on.

The rancher reasoned that if he left the stallion alone overnight, his hunger for the green grass and running stream or for the mare would soon take him out of the corral. However, the next morning found everything exactly as before. Having no better idea, the rancher tried both procedures from the previous day and had exactly the same frustrating results.

Tired, disappointed and more than a little aggravated, the rancher phoned the stallion’s owner and related the impasse. He told the owner to come and get his valuable property before the horse starved or dehydrated. The owner said, "Well, why don’t you just put a halter on him and lead him where you want him to go?" The rancher was timid, even fearful, as he moved toward that potentially destructive force, but he found that the horse was quite content to stand still as long as he could see what was going on.

After fastening the halter, the man walked through the open gate with the stallion willingly following him. This time he was the one who had to be brave enough to turn his back and take the risk of trusting the animal. Once through the opening, he unfastened the halter and the two mates were soon sharing the joy of their freedom and togetherness as they ran and played across the meadow.

The rancher’s approach is so true to life, an apt description of how we often try to fix our dilemmas.

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