Summary: The decision to follow Christ and His ideals at any cost.
Lesson From Sheriff Pat Garrett
Sermon Objective: The decision to follow Christ at any cost.
We finish a sermon series this morning called “Lessons from the Wild West.” In the first week we looked at: “Buffalo Bill Cody” (10:1-15) and discovered that he, just like the disciples of Jesus, was a common ordinary man who seized the opportunities given him and did memorable things. We learned that God wants to use us ordinary people in extraordinary ways too; that availability is more important than ability.
We also looked at “Remember the Alamo!” from Matthew 10:16-33 and saw that following Christ was based on loyalty and sacrifice rather than ease and comfort. We live for a cause which is bigger than ourselves.
Last week we looked at “Lewis and Clark” from Hebrews 11:1-10 and discovered that God has tools and principles to help us navigate life even when everything around us in changing rapidly.
This week we will look at Matthew 10:34-42 and Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Pat Garrett was a cattle rancher in Lincoln County New Mexico. He spent most of his young adult life there and knew most of the folk even though Lincoln County was the largest spread in the west. One fellow that Pat knew and liked was a drifter in town named William H. Bonney. Bonney was a young, small framed fellow and was thus nicknamed “Billy the Kid.”
The Kid and Garrett’s life’s choices would take them in starkly differing directions. “The Kid” became a cattle rustler and a murderer and at the age of 21 had killed one man for every year of life.
Pat Garrett was elected sheriff and given a very clear order by his constituents (the ranchers of Lincoln County) to hunt “the Kid” down and put a stop to his cattle rustling.
Sheriff Garrett became obsessed with finding the outlaw. Pat Garrett decided Billy the Kid would be his driving force. He counted the cost and made sacrifices. He was doing what no one else would do. And even though it cost him men (at least two died at the barrel of “the Kid’s” shotgun) he would see justice through.
Finally the break he needed came. Someone leaked “the Kid’s” whereabouts and Pat caught up with him in a home near Fort Sumner. Around midnight on July 14, 1881 night Pat Garrett shot “the Kid” dead in his bedroom during a shoot-out.
Although Garrett would go on to other duties as lawman his claim to fame was his willingness to go to any length to get his man and see justice done. He had counted the cost and made sacrifices but the reign of terror by Billy the Kid was finally stopped. So impressive was his victory that even the President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, would hear of it and consequently appoint Him to a higher government office.
Legend has it that originally Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid were very good friends. They were nicknamed “Big Casino” (Garrett’s size) and “Little Casino” (the Kid’s size). They were always together in the gambling saloon.
But once Billy the Kid turned to cattle rustling and murder, and once Garrett became Sheriff, their values and relationship sent them in different directions. Decisions, hard decisions, often do that to friendships.
JESUS WARNS US THAT THE GOSPEL IS LIKE THIS -- IT DIVIDES AND SEPARATES. IT SHOWS ONE’S LOYALTIES. And the decisions we make will bring some inevitable separations too. EITHER WE WILL FIND OTHERS SEPARATING FROM US BECAUSE WERE ARE FOLLOWING CHRIST OR WE WILL FIND OURSELVES SEPARATING FROM JESUS IN ORDER FOLLOW OTHERS.
Let’s listen to Jesus’ words.
34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law —
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
40 “He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.
41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.
42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”