Think of what a true leader is. They are in front when no one else wants to be in front and in the rear when no one wants to be in the rear.
How does a stallion lead? He drives from the back when he is motivating his herd to get on the move. He leads from the front when courage is lacking. The stallion is the picture of energy, contrasting the natural laziness that can creep up on us all. How long the stallion leads depends on his ability to stay sharp mentally and physically.
The most important job of the stallion is to keep his herd on the move. Humans and horses have a similar basic nature in that we can both gravitate toward laziness. Without the stallion, the herd would tend to become more sedentary, opening the door for more health problems within, and dangers from the outside. I feel a luxury society like ours as well as many others in the past become overly “feminine” and begin to emulate a herd without a stallion. We treat our luxuries as necessities and begin to value consumption more than production, then we begin to trade muscle for fat, and saving for debt. We all know we live in a time when hospitals and consumption money lenders are having a hey-day.
God in the flesh, Jesus Christ, shocked the world by showing the example of a true boss, giving us the ultimate example of leadership and sacrifice. He spent most of his years on earth as a hard working carpenter, then demonstrating service to others as the most important leadership quality. God shows us that in the example of the wild horse herd the good stallion is a great picture of a leader who works harder than anyone else. Back when the American cowboy was born in the days of cattle trail drives, rookies were in the back riding drag, wearing bandanas to keep from eating to much dust. No one wanted to be in back, they would much rather be up front. Yet the stallion gives the example of being a servant boss from the rear. He travels back and forth nipping slackers, and guarding for potential foes stalking the herd.
There is a time when the stallion is up front leading. If the herd is trapped, and/or the lead mares feel intimidated to move forward, he will move to the front to find a way out. If he needs to, he will charge forward with teeth and front feet flashing to make an opening through the enemy. Once he has blazed the trail, then the rest of the herd follows him out. When all is safe again, he goes back to the rear.
To compare to our human situation, think about leaders who helped this country become the most prosperous nation in history. They followed Jesus Christ’s example by modeling his volunteer servant nature. George Washington can never be mentioned enough as a perfect example here. He led when no one else wanted to, and hung in there with the tenacity of a pit bull. When the danger was over, he voluntarily resigned when most others would have taken advantage of the situation.
George Washington never biologically fathered another human, but he is one of the best known fathers ever! Leaders like him rolled up their sleeves and worked when others would rather sit back and be entertained by the fashionable consumptions of the day. There was no guarantee that their work would pay off. Yet they knew that the true work ethic combined with the humility of learning how to plan ahead from those who have gone before was critical. It was key to pioneering ways for humans to survive, be productive and grow. Everyone wants a job when it pays well, and begins to cushion the occupant from the “happenings” of the real world. But no one likes being up front to lead the way when uncertainty is the prevailing predicament up ahead.
The gospel clearly defined is a great seed bed for a true leadership attitude. Since Jesus Christ assures believers of the confidence of eternal life paid 100-percent by him, it should embolden us to do the right thing, even when it does not seem to pay, and we see no results on the horizon.
The way I like to explain the gospel compared to everything else is that it is the picture of the true volunteer. We do not have to work to get to heaven if we are a believer in Christ, but we are motivated to volunteer to do the right thing to develop character down here.
In the wild, there are bachelor bands of stallions that consist of individuals that spar with one another. These horses are honing the skills they would need to lead a herd and provide competition for stallions that are currently leading bands of mares. Usually stallions do not have a herd of their own for very long. Stallions from the bachelor bands will challenge existing herd leaders from time to time. How long a stallion keeps his herd is directly related to how sharp he stays. He does not keep his position from seniority, or any other career security measure. He leads because he can still out-work and out-think his challengers (there are no career politicians here).
I have always emphasized the picture of horsemanship as being a working boss versus an armchair boss. We know that is the type of leader the Bible portrays when it communicates to husbands and fathers about being head of their households. God’s true leaders always have been and always will be individuals who work harder than everyone else. It’s the job that no one else really wants. I can imagine a stallion leaving a band of mares after another stallion out-spars him saying “jump right in the middle of it, I’m ready for a break!”
Usually we associate wisdom with the owl sitting in the tree, or the sage in a sitting pose on the ground. Consider the wise men we associate with visiting Jesus at about two years of age or so. They were on the move, searching, thinking, detecting and exercising. Chances are, as well as learning about scripture, they probably studied God’s creation and were aware of how God designed the wild horse herd. They understood energy, action and staying sharp.
But they were able to add the ingredients needed for true spirituality besides. The humility to get along with each other, and voluntarily relay each other.
They were truly wise because of their focus on Jesus Christ.
Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot hoof-trimming specialist from Raymondville, Mo. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.