WESTERN WISDOM "Never Saddle a Dead Horse" audio podcast by award-winning western author Stephen Bly. Sponsored by BlyBooks.com Legacy Series.
"Saddled With A Dead Horse" blog post article found here: https://www.blybooks.com/2023/08/saddled-with-a-dead-horse/
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NEVER SADDLE A DEAD HORSE
I guess, among other things, you could call me a politician. I happened to serve on the city council and was mayor of Winchester, Idaho at one time. Now, these weren’t really demanding jobs, since the official population of the place over the years ranged from 262 – 450. We had two city employees, a city clerk and a city maintenance man.
They weren’t big jobs, but they did keep a couple folks busy most days. They were responsible to the Council. So, I suppose in some ways, I was sort of one of their bosses.
Small Town Employee Burdens
One of our constituents showed up at a meeting one time with some suggestions about the city maintenance man should spend his time. Besides snowplowing the streets of town (all but Main Street were gravel roads), it was suggested he plowed out the drives of all the senior citizens in town. Not only that, but there was also a suggestion we send out his home phone number with the next water bill so people would know who to call in the night if they were having a hard time getting out of the driveway or starting their car.
The mayor at that time ran some cattle just outside the city limits but lived in town. He roared, “We aren’t about to saddle a dead horse on him!” And that settled the matter.
What Did It Mean?
I suppose in other parts of the country a further explanation would be needed. But it made sense to all of us on the council. To saddle a dead horse on a man is a cowboy expression for burdening someone with an unwelcome obligation.
The word image is vivid. You limit the effectiveness of any man if he must drag a dead horse around with him everywhere.
Don't Saddle Others
In the spiritual world, we’ve got to make sure we aren’t saddling our friends, neighbors, family, or church members with dead horses.
Paul says in the Bible, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way” (Romans 14:13).
What God Created Us To Be
But there are times when all of us get in a rut of demanding other believers pack around a self-made list of “do’s” and “don’ts” that will crush him or her, rather than allow them to be all God desires them to be. Other believers are supposed to be obedient to Christ, but they don’t have to look just like me.
When I insist that they do, I’ve saddled a dead horse on them.