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Out Our Way: I met Will Smith!

Luke 17:6 "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed ...."

Out our way, we don't see a lot of celebrities, but one day a few years back I ran into "Will Smith." OK, not the real dude, but a look alike that came pretty close to the "Fresh Prince of BelAir."

As some of you know, "Doc" has a girlfriend, a gorgeous auburn colored pinto named "Babe." She is a lot smaller than Doc, but she is as smooth-as-silk in her gaits and a good ride. Unfortunately, she was raised in pastures and paddocks with other horses and never got used to cows. To the contrary, she is terrified of them.

Well, I decided she needed to get over her fear and so Charlie and I took her herding one day. She was nervous and antsy as we rode - but I circled her a few times and she calmed down. In fact, she was calm enough for us to ride up to a feeder on a hill where some four or five units were having a feed. I rode on ahead and kept smooth talking to Babe as we approached and she was really doing fine. I called out to Charlie, who was a few yards behind us, "Looks like she has settled down!" And Charlie yelled back, "Yeah, well what about the horse-eating calf over there?" 

Sure enough, a young calf, ears wide, mouth open and inquisitive expression, was doing a perfect impression of Will Smith staring at us. Babe turned and looked and freaked out. Snorting, tap dancing and very nearly cross hopping, she was in a panic. For that matter, so was I, for I am not the most talented bronc rider in the West. Charlie laughed and said, "Well how did I know she understands English?" Then, seeing I was in trouble, he called out, "Just circle her, and she'll calm down."

As I am losing my seat, my stirrups, and my balance, I didn't have a lot of faith in Charlie's advice, but I tightened the reins and turned her head ... and by gum, she circled! She kept pitching and kicking out, but I kept circling her and she began to calm down. It took a few minutes - I say 45 ... Charlie says it was more like two - but she was fine. "Will" was still standing there gape-mouthed, ears spread, and staring ... but Babe was no longer afraid. Indeed, I turned Babe toward him and he took off in a panic. 

Some medicine show preachers say that the real Christians never doubt or feel fear. Well, it seems Jesus disagrees. The "mustard seed" is one of the smallest of all seeds, and while Christ aims for us to have a faith to move mountains, He does not expect us to grow it overnight. The mustard seed is a tiny seed, and I gather the mustard plant grows quite large. But you have to plant it.

I was ready to bail that day, but with what little hope or faith I had in my panic, I heard Charlie tell me to hang on, circle Babe and rode out the fear. We all have our "Will Smiths" that pop up and cause us unexpected and often terrifying trials. It's OK to be scared - but not to give up. Though your faith is "as small as a mustard seed," remember He also said, "Lo, I am with you always!" (Matthew 28:20).

  Be blessed and be a blessing. 

Brother John


The Rev. John Bruington is the retired pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Havre. He now lives in Colorado, but continues to write "Out Our Way." He can be reached for comment or dialogue at [email protected].


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