Stray Horses and Priorities

Would you believe me if I told you there was place where stray horses are becoming a real problem?

Well, it’s true. I saw it on TV.  🙂

Ireland is famous for being an equine loving country. Lots of horse enthusiasts and lots horse breeders means lots of horses owners. But recession has hit hard in Ireland, and horses are expensive to keep. When it becomes too costly to keep a horse, some are simply abandoning their four legged burdens—especially ones that are already injured or sick.

There are an estimated 20,000 of these forsaken creatures roaming the Irish countryside. (See this article.)

These horses are released onto public land or sneaked onto someone else’s property and left to fend for themselves. Some of the animals manage to eek out a pathetic existence, but many suffer and slowly die from exposure or starvation.

It is not my intention to pass judgment on people or situations of which I have no knowledge. Perhaps for some of these horse owners, it was the best they could do in a desperate situation. This is very sad and I really hate to see animals suffer, but a horse is a horse.

How tragic, though, when I am guilty of this kind of disregard for fellow humans—and the result is famished souls. I know that God has people he wants to entrust to my care. When I ask and keep my eyes open, he always shows me someone he wants me to invest in. It might be an unsaved neighbor, my child’s teacher, a struggling friend, a new believer at church, or a hurting family member—but he’s always got someone he wants to love through me.

The thing is that I often don’t even ask, and when I do ask, I don’t always follow through. It requires time, intentionality, and emotional energy to build a relationship and pour into someone else’s life. I like my little world just the way I’ve built it. I don’t want to reassess my priorities or rearrange my schedule. It’s inconvenient. It won’t fit. The cost is too high.

So I abandon those whom God has given me— hoping they will get by on their own or that someone else will give them what they need.

Though I never say it to myself like this, I place a higher priority and value on my schedule, my comfort, and my chosen activities than on the real and deep needs of people who are precious to God.

The ironic thing is that when God brings me someone to invest in and I do follow through…when I give my time and my heart, when I sincerely petition God on their behalf—those are the times when I am  most blessed.

I see God work through me. I see change. I see growth. I am stretched and challenged. I learn love. I am close to God’s heart and I know it.

Maybe next time I’m tempted to despise the privilege of loving God’s children and making disciples for Christ, I’ll think of the skinny, famished horses that weren’t worth the cost…Or I could think about the incredible blessing that comes with seeing people through God’s eyes and aligning my affections with his own.

Whatever works, I guess.


5 thoughts on “Stray Horses and Priorities”

  1. Ugh… This is SO true to me right now. I just caught myself being selfish and hoarding my time and my schedule… Actually my husband said a comment to me, after overhearing a conversation. He said “why were you so reluctant to help?” my answer was “my schedule is SO busy, I had to make sure it would work.” my real answer should have been what you had said about placing my schedule, etc in higher priority… AKA I was being selfish…
    Thank you, Crystal for sharing… I hope next time I heed Gods call, instead of my own selfish desires…

    1. Yeah, guarding family time and maintaining a consistent schedule for my boys is my usual excuse for myself.
      There is some merit to those things–our responsibility is to our family first. But I think often it is a cover up for not wanting to go out of my comfort zone or inconvenience myself.
      God is rooting for us, though–always ready to help us change and always ready to use us when we are willing. His grace really is amazing!

  2. I don’t know how it got there, but there is a small smiley face on the top right hand corner of your page…
    Just thought it was cute.

    Good post, I had a similar experience about a week ago.

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