In honor of my mother who recently passed away, I’m painting her saddle. Mom bought this saddle with her own money when she was probably a teenager. It is sitting on a stand that my sister made for it. The saddle is popular with children, but they don’t go anywhere, of course.
Years ago I read Code of Honor by Sandy Dengler. In it she gives an illustration using a saddle and I’d like to share it here:
Faith is what carries us along, ultimately to heaven. Faith in Jesus. Faith is the horse. This. You are the rider. This. The saddle - that’s the church. Any church that points a person to salvation in Christ. Yours. Mine. The saddle’s purpose is to make you more comfortable on your horse, and to keep you from falling off. The church helps you stay with the faith. But it is not, itself, the faith. You can throw the saddle across a rail fence and ride it, and feel very safe and secure. Of course, you won’t go anywhere. Not an inch. Meg still has her saddle, the church, but it’s now on the horse. And she knows God person-to-person.
Riding bareback can be fun, but when working cattle or on trail rides - when you want to make sure you stay on - use a saddle! Living out your faith (riding the horse) is also easier when you are connected to a local church (using a saddle).