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  • Katie Smith


"Mustang horses are descendants of escaped, domestic Spanish horses that were brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers in the 16th century. The name is derived from the Spanish words "mestengo" and "mostrenco" — meaning wild or masterless [emphasis added] cattle, according to the Oxford Learner's Dictionaries. " (Bradford, Alina, and Pester, Patrick, Live Science, May 04, 2021.

Servants and masters, whether human to human or human to horse, conceptually began well before our national patriotism. Slavery did not start in the 16th, 15th, or even 12th century, nor did our thirteen original colonies fight in a civil war, forging the first path to freedom. Rather, America's history merely launched with servitude in a manner different from our global ancestors.

The Bible, speaks of slavery in both the old and new testaments. This fact feeds the idea that the big book is antiquated, irrelevant, and even offensive today. However, slavery in God's Word speaks not of a "racial institution," but a prehistoric occupation. "Not only was Roman-era slavery a nonracial institution (there were slaves of all races), but most slaves could reasonably expect emancipation by the time they reached 30...Nor was the work of a slave limited to hard labor; slaves worked in a variety of different occupations --including household management, teaching, business and industry-- and many even owned property. Because of the poverty of many free laborers, the economic and living conditions of slaves were often far better" (Adapted from Zoderan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary NT: NT: Vol 3 by Clinton E. Arnold. Ephesians---Copyright 2002 by Clinton E. Arnold, p. 1993).

This information in no way justifies the ungodliness in stripping humans of their dignity and identity. It does, however, redirect our thoughts on the word "slavery." Many well-known Christian authors identify with being a "slave" to Christ or "bondservant" to God. In The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis argues against the absurdity in assuming we don't all carry a cross of slavery:

"We shall in fact be the slaves and puppets of that to which we have given our souls. It is in Man's power to treat himself as a mere 'natural object' and his own judgements of value as raw material for scientific manipulation to alter at will" (Lewis, The Abolition of Man, p. 72).

In other words, we can be in servitude to anyone or anything we have entrusted our souls: any "raw material" whether, man, woman, beast, or medicine. But like the wild mustang, service wrapped up in captivity feels wrong. Freedom is our ultimate goal. As mustangs, we think autonomy rules. But if slavery is inevitable, how can man and horse live in harmonious service to one another?

None of us willingly submits to anyone or anything if we can help it. We fight hard to keep our freedom in tact, even if we continue fighting that war in our hearts. I am raising several wild mustangs at the moment, and they are missing out on the possibility of a symbiotic relationship. I am not taming them to overtake them. I want to clothe them, feed them, and keep them safe from harm out pure love. The rope and saddle only help me display self-control and stamina so we can endure long rides together. The more they begin to trust me, the more I can let them roam free. Then, I can trust they'll return for food and shelter in a timely fashion. Instead of stealing from me, they will gladly let me ride on their backs because of those previous primitive wounds I healed without payment.

Man and mustang were designed to live in unity--mutual appreciation and edification for each other. Unfortunately when the first two horses didn't trust that their apples were sufficient and questioned the Hand of their provider, broken relationships infiltrated our entire infrastructure. Now, we all run wild bucking our hind legs at any mention of submission. Still, servitude to a Perfect Master actually provides us with perfect freedom. Freedom from all fears. We don't have to worry about our next meal or surviving the winter like those first American pilgrims. Instead, we can flourish in trust and faith, which comes from serving Him who has always served us first.

Running with four mustangs has been quite a tiresome but exhilarating experience thus far...

-- Serving Carefully & Carelessly

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