While speaking to a lady at church one Sunday, she mentioned that she thought of me as she had seen a cowboy, far from ranch headquarters, riding fence along some old country road. That segued into a conversation about how the concept of 'riding fence' parallels our need, as Christians, to keep our spiritual fences maintained in order to keep out the enemy and keep us grazing where we belong. Well, it doesn't take much to inspire me to write so here it is, the story that evolved out of that conversation with Janice.
Everyone knows for a fact,
Cowboys shine to cattle tendin'
But the least wanted job for a cowhand
Is spendin' his days fence mendin'
Heaven knows them cow critters
Are a snorty, wire-slackin', sinnin' lot
When reachin' for that greener grass
Barbed wire don't stay so tight as it ought
Now when them wires are stretched enough
Their original boundaries ain't held
So them sinners get to strayin'
None of them cow-critters stay compelled
So ridin' fence though held lowly
Cuz we all know it ain't fun
Is perhaps one of highest callings
It's a job that must be done
Hmm, suddenly this reminds me of me
How I backslide, slack and drift
From putting on God's full armor
By regular fetchin' up with His gift
Reckon ya might say that's stretchin' it
Which could be seen as a pun
When viewed in the context of fencin'
Either way it oughtn't be what's done
It's so much easier to ignore His laws
Defaulting to our depraved disposition
Than do the work of staying in line
Being fully armored for His good mission
Usually it's the new-hire, the shavetail
That with the dreaded ridin' fence is tasked
Curiously they're often well suited
Bein newbies they eagerly do as asked
But when it comes to we seasoned hands
Well, familiarity does breed contempt
It's altogether much too easy
Us gettin' too comfy; thinkin' we're exempt
Even the top hands of the outfit
Oughta be assigned with the new-hires
At least a coupl'a times a year
To spend a full day checkin' the wires
When we set out to do that
It's important to pack the right tools
Our boots need to be grounded in truth
'Stead'a followin' the trails of fools
That's why God gave us His Good Book
It's our handbook for all our chorin'
We oughta be reg'lar packin' it along
And readin' it steady 'stead'a ignorin'
If I'd just hitch to that Word-studyin' habit
And reg'lar prayin' 'bout everything
I'd keep my spiritual fence wires taut
So, when the wind blows, they'd just sing
The path to heaven is narrow
And there's but one way in
And that's through Jesus Christ
Who's blood has washed clean our sin
Seems right obvious to me
If I'm gonna ride to heaven's trail
God wants me ridin' fences with Him
To get me there without fail
by Rik Goodell
© 2023 All rights reserved
The accompanying painting is by the prolific and extensively published artist, Clark Kelly Price.
To see more of his work, go to his website: