Pardon me for showing my age, but I’m reflecting on the “good old days” when I reveled in the Saturday morning cowboy shows on TV – in living black and white, no less. Characters like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, and Wild Bill Hickok. They were the good guys, always standing up (or riding) for justice and what’s right.
They could shoot their pistols with uncanny accuracy from horses in full gallop, never lost their hats in pursuit, and were nothing but gentlemen around the ladies. What I remember in particular are spurs, those metallic accessories to their boots used for prodding their trusty steeds faster when the bad guys seemed about to get away. I’m not certain, but it seems I had a set of toy spurs myself when I was a boy for my cowboy-and-Indian play days.
I’ve never used spurs on a horse. Actually, I’ve never spent much time on a horse; I like looking at them, but never felt safe sitting atop one of them. But from what I understand, those spurs were handy for getting the animals moving and keeping them going in the proper direction.
Did you know the Bible has a bit to say about spurs? Not in the rootin’, tootin’ cowboy sense. But right there in Hebrews 10:24 it says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” I don’t recall any other reference telling us that Jesus, or the apostles, or even the prophets had literal spurs attached to their sandals. Nevertheless, this term is aptly used.
This thing we call “the Christian life” isn’t easy. At times we’re coasting along on some spiritual high, feeling like we can handle any obstacles we confront. But other times, especially during uninspiring doldrum moments, it’s harder to keep going. Those are the times when we can use a little “spurring on” for continuing what God has called us to do.
The image of championship sports teams comes to mind. They have talented players, usually more than one at each position, who engage in spirited, healthy competition. These athletes challenge one another, but also support one another, rejoicing in one another’s success. Probably without being consciously aware of it, they’re spurring one another on toward higher levels of achievement and success.
That’s what we should be doing as followers of Jesus. As the next verse in Hebrews admonishes, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25).
Elsewhere in the Scriptures we find acknowledgements that the our trek through life can sometimes be tough, slow sledding. Galatians 6:9 cautions, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I suspect we’ve all experienced a bit of fatigue in well-doing, wondering if we can continue – or if what we’re doing is really accomplishing anything.
We find a similar exhortation in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” Reading this in the Word of God is a great reminder. Our expressions of similar sentiments to one another can be as well. A few words of timely encouragement never hurt.
The old cowboy song went, “I got spurs that jingle, jangle, jingle.” When we encounter a brother or sister in Christ who seems to be dragging, whether weary from expended efforts or simply discouraged, it’s time to spur them on, urging them to continue in their pursuit of love and good deeds. Let’s keep our “spurs” jingling, and jangling!