Someone in my church told me. As soon as she told me, I knew there was a sermon in it. What she told me was, a friend of hers has a horse named “Preacher.”
What she did not tell me is why.
Why would you name your horse “Preacher”?
When I was a kid growing up in church, we always chuckled when the preacher read the story (Judges 15, KJV) about Samson picking up the “jawbone of an ass.” When I heard about the horse named Preacher, I thought about that text and that maybe Preacher wasn’t such a bad name after all.
Maybe you name your horse, Preacher, because you love your horse, and you love your preacher. That is perhaps wishful thinking. But if you love me, don’t name your dog, cat, or horse after me. Just call them Rev.
Perhaps the horse got its moniker because some people say that horses aren’t very smart, and maybe she thinks we minister types aren’t either. I think it’s a myth, but some say that a horse will go back into a burning barn. I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I won’t do that.
Another reason a horse could be called Preacher is because horses eat a lot. Enough said.
The woman could have named the horse Preacher because she has watched too many Triple Crown races, and she thinks that all we ministers do is run in circles.
Before you name your horse Preacher, just know that we are pretty normal people with normal issues that you have—change the oil in car, juggling schedules, marital spats, etc.
Many of us preachers, by the way, feel like preaching chose us instead of us choosing preaching. There was an obnoxious man who grew up on a farm in South Georgia. His name was John. Unlike the other boys in the family, John was self-righteous, a tattletale and a killjoy. One day, all the boys in the extended family were working together in the field. The cousins teamed up on John, who was plowing a mule (maybe it was a horse).
One of the cousins, with a deep voice that sounded like God, climbed into a chinaberry tree at the edge of the field, where the leaves made for a thick screen. As John and the mule came by, the boy in the tree intoned in a heavenly voice, “John, go preach.”
Startled, John slowed the mule and listened. “John, go preach,” the voice said again.
John finished the row and plowed the next and the word came again. Convinced that he had a call from God, John took off for the nearest preacher school. That is how some of us decided to go to seminary.
I have joked that my calling into ministry came right in the middle of a calculus exam. I looked up at the heavens and said, “Is that other job still available?”
We ministers don’t claim perfection or brilliance. We have a sense that God has called us to minister to people and to speak a word from God as we understand it.
Some people call me “Preacher” when they see me at the grocery store or post office. “Hey Preacher,” they say. That’s OK by me. It’s better than naming your horse after me.