Stephen Bly Down A Western Trail

Working for the Old Man

March 31, 2023 Stephen Bly Season 5 Episode 11
Stephen Bly Down A Western Trail
Working for the Old Man
Show Notes Transcript

WESTERN WISDOM, Season 5, Episode 11, "Working for the Old Man" audio podcast by award-winning western author Stephen Bly. Sponsored by Legacy Series. 
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Stephen Bly
Circa 1995 

I once worked on a big outfit called the Pleasant Valley Ranch. About once a week we would have a cowboy or two roll up that long, dusty driveway in their beat up pickup truck and ask to see the old man about a job. Now, the old man was the owner of the spread and the phrase had nothing to do with his age. 

One of the workers named Jesse had worked on the place for thirty-two years. When he started work the boss was only twenty-nine years old. “But we called him the old man even back then,” Jesse reported.


The term, while not spoken to the boss’s face, is never used in a disrespectful sense. It’s a term of endearment in the cattle country. It was a sense of respect for the boss’s leadership ability. The men acknowledged that by calling him the old man. It’s a characteristic that easily recognized a good man. A good worker doesn’t stay long working for a fool or a jerk.


Every ranch, business, organization, church, and family needs someone with those special gifts of leadership. Leadership is that unique blend of decisiveness, knowledge, skill, common sense, fairness, creativity, and divine drive, the spark behind success. God gives some individuals that gift.    

“If a man’s gift is leadership,” Paul writes in Romans 12:8, “Then let him govern diligently.”


The trouble in many businesses is that the leaders assume it was by their own wonderful intelligence and effort they achieved their present position. It never enters some folks’ heads that they have been given that role by God for a purpose that goes way beyond their salary and the company’s bottom line. 

The real tragedy is that there are some in leadership in the church, too, who forget they have been given that divine gift for something beyond themselves.


Whether you call he boss the old man or the pastor, he has a more important role than just assigning the work and signing the payroll. Once a boss understands that, the task becomes much more personally rewarding for himself and more meaningful for the workers.