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Sermon 11/13/05 - Horse Sense
Matthew 22:34-40

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Horse Sense

When the Pharisees heard that He had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, ‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:34-40)

There’s an old phrase in the English language which you may remember from years ago, called “horse sense.”  Will Rogers used those words several times, and they mean “common sense,” something that Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, defines as “sound and prudent, but often unsophisticated judgment.”  “Horse sense” is simple wisdom, which is quite rare in this world, but paradoxically, it is available to us all.

We received an email with the title, “Horse Sense,” and it contains these words: “Just up the road from my home is a field with two horses in it. From a distance, each of them looks just like every other horse, but if one stops the car or is walking by, you’ll see something quite different.  Look into the eyes of one of the horses and you’ll notice that he is blind.  His owner has chosen to not have him put down and has made a good home for him.  Listening, you can hear the sound of a bell and you can see that it comes from the smaller horse.  Attached to her bridle is a bell.  It lets her blind friend know where she is so he can follow her.  Looking at the two friends, you can see how she is always checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk to her, trusting that she will not lead him astray.  Like the owners of these two horses, God will not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.  He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need.  Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by God and those who He places into our lives.  Other times we are the guide horse, helping others see God.  God sends us friends who are like stars – you can’t always see them, but they are there.

A friend should not only be willing to BE a helping hand, but also receive help, as well.  We are all painfully “blind” to the feelings of others and shouldn’t be surprised when others don’t “see” our intentions.  They have a need to give and so do we, and we feel rejected when the gift is not received as we think it ought to be.  In our isolation, we tend to not “hear” the “bell” attached to the “bridles” of those around us, and don’t recognize that God is sending them to us (and us to them).

How does this “bell” work?  To sum it all up: we are to love one another, which, as Jesus pointed out, is the “great commandment,” the great NEED of our lives.  And He makes it relatively easy because love is brought to us by and through the Holy Spirit of God.  Paul the Apostle, who was surprised by the grace and love of God, observed that “the fruit of the Spirit is love…” (Galatians 5:22).  It’s HIS love IN you that is real love.

In our Scripture for today, we find Jesus once again being attacked by the “theologians,” the doctors, the “great thinkers” of his time.  These were men who were supposed to have wisdom, and yet they demonstrated their lack of it by attacking God Himself, the source of all true wisdom in this world.  They demonstrated their lack of “horse sense” by their lack of love, as Jesus clearly pointed out to them.

Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  “Fear” becomes faith, as you to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5).  When you, “in all your “ways acknowledge Him…” you start to see that “He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).  It’s plain “horse sense” to look to the Lord – He’s here for you right now and He brings His love with Him – His gift to you and me.  Will you receive His gift?

To be in love is wonderful, and I have come to believe that all love is the gift of God.  The love of a man and woman, the love of a parent for a child, and the little ones for their mom and Dad, the love of a patriot for his or her country, love for a sibling – it’s from God.  How often we have misused and yes, even destroyed that love - And the answer is: too many times, but the love was real, even if we were not.

The “Deep Cove Crier” of North Vancouver, BC (1993) told of an incident in the life of Dr. Karl Barth, a theologian, who, as the article states, was “one of the most brilliant and complex intellectuals of the twentieth century.”  Barth wrote a large number of volumes on the meaning of life and faith.  A reporter once asked him if he could summarize what he had said in all those writings.  Dr. Barth thought for just a moment and then replied: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  God loves you, enabling you to love.

The response of this brilliant man is WONDERFUL, for most “thinkers” of Jesus’ time and ours, seem to think they have the job of making everything so complicated that the average person can’t understand what life and the Lord are all about.  The reality is that God has made it EASY to see our need of the Lord and He has shown us how to “find” Him in Christ Jesus.  We simply are to love and trust Him and receive His love.  Dr. Barth was so utterly right when he responded, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”  It’s so simple that a child can understand it, which is precisely what Jesus had in mind when He said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN” (Matthew 19:14).  He also said, “unless you are converted and BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).  If you have never trusted in Him, don’t let “fear” stop you, for it “is the beginning of knowledge” that leads us to wisdom, to love and life everlasting.

To receive the Lord simply and without unnecessary complications is real life, and we are more like those “little children” that Jesus spoke about than we care to admit.  We need Him.  Jesus died for your sins and has done His part.  The Holy Spirit is revealing your need right now, and He is doing His part.  All that’s left is your part – simply listen to the “horse sense” of God’s Word and say “Yes” to the Lord.  Let’s pray:

Father, we ARE that blind horse and You are the Good Master, who sends us the help and love we need.  We ARE “little children” who need Your love.  Forgive us for the times we have not trusted in You.  We come to You in holy “fear” and ask for the “horse sense” to receive Your forgiveness, Your love, right now.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries
First Church On The Net
www.FridayStudy.org
Ron@FridayStudy.org
"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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