Here is some tried and true wisdom that the Dakota Indians have passed on from generation to generation. It says, “When you discover that you are riding on a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.” The multitudes who post this saying on their websites entitle this ‘The Dead Horse Theory.’
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?
It’s hard to know when to keep trying and when to stop. Many people move from faith to presumption and keep going when it’s time to stop. Today let’s explore when it may be time to stop.
Let me illustrate.
Often, those engaged in government, education, corporate America and even the church, develop advanced strategies on how to raise a dead horse.
- Buying a stronger whip.
- Changing riders
- Appointing a committee to study the horse. Better yet, bring in an army of consultants to study the horse.
- Arranging to visit other countries to see how other cultures ride dead horses.
- Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.
- Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse.
- Harnessing several other dead horses together to increase speed.
- Providing additional funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance.
- Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance.
- Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy that do other horses.
- Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position.
It’s amazing how sometimes we overlook the obvious because our mind has an agenda. Whether it is logical or not, we try everything to keep that dead horse (and our invested agenda) alive. May I offer some advice? Dead horses are expensive, emotionally expensive, and timing consuming to keep alive. Try as you may, they are still dead. Denying it won’t change it. Organization and funding won’t change it. Creating new labels and politically correct language for dead horses won’t change anything. It’s output without outcome. As they say, denial is not a river in Egypt!
Someone once said insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results. Sometimes it’s time to move on. Sometimes it’s necessary to admit it and quit it. We might even have to say, “I was wrong, or we were wrong.” Maybe we need to bury those old horses holding us back and find a horse that is alive.
I’m not talking about finding other ‘dead horses’ that stimulate you for a season but, in the end, only produce death again. Many have tried that strategy and it doesn’t work. I’ve got a better solution. How about trying something living? Matthew 22:32 says, “God is not the God of the dead but of the living.” John 10:10 says, “I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” I like that. God is the God of living things. When God is in something, it’s alive. Bigger, better, greater!
The best strategy when riding a dead horse is to dismount. Author Steven Covey says, “A leader is the one who climbs up the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation and yells, wrong tree.” That’s wisdom, not a lack of commitment or faith.
I’ve seen many people through the years who had the wisdom and courage to dismount the ‘dead horses’ of this world and mount the ‘live horse’ of God. They got beyond the opinions of others who told them that God was not real, relevant, or reliable. The change in their quality and quantity of their lives has been unexplainable yet undeniable!
Maybe you have an investment that is not producing. Maybe you are in a work relationship that you should end. Maybe it’s time to get going again after you failed or were disappointed in some way. Maybe it’s time of let go of the past. Better things are there and especially if they are God things, and not just good things. Ride onward into your supercalifragilisticexpialidocious New Year!
Church-Community Connection is published weekly in newspapers and blogs all over the world. Most of these newspapers are local paid subscription newspapers. The goal of these 600 word articles is to build a bridge to the community through humor, wisdom and changing inaccurate mental perceptions that the community has of God, church, and Christianity. If you know of a local newspaper that you think would like these articles, please have them contact Ed Delph at our website. The articles are free of charge and Ed’s way of giving back to the community