Recently, I heard a bull rider talking about the physical pain that riders endure. I do not remember which rider, but it was one of the riders on the Built Ford Tough Series of the PBR (Professional Bull Riders). The rider said that pain is a part of bull riding. You are going to get hurt if you are riding bulls. You must accept the pain if you want to ride. From what I have seen, it is a lot more physical pain that most of us would be willing to endure. Even if the ride is a great ride, the rider has to dismount the bull. Landing on your feet would be jarring enough for most of us from that height, but often a rider does not land on his feet. Most of us try to avoid falling, much less jumping off large bovines.
Another rider, J.B. Mauney shared the beginning of his bull riding career. He was a teenager, and his family had been a part of the rodeos for a long time. His dad had competed in another rodeo event. J.B.’s dad told him quite clearly that bull riding was not an easy sport. If J.B. wanted to ride, then he had to accept the pain. Bull riding is often painful, and one of the objectives is not to be seriously injured.
Bull riders are willing to endure physical pain in order to live out their passion of bull riding. What are you willing to endure? And for what are you willing to endure it? we may not all be putting ourselves in line for physical pain, but there are other pains as well. Most parents endure emotional pain caused by their children. Even if it is unintentional, our children will often cause us pain. We choose to risk the emotional pain because they are worth what we have to endure. Our love for them, our passion for them, is greater than our desire to keep ourselves away from that pain.
Others are willing to work extremely long hours because the personal discomfort is worth seeing the results of the work. Their love is their work. They are willing to do what it takes to get the job done because the job is something that they believe in. Still others are willing to work under unpleasant or harsh conditions in order to provide for their families. Their love of their family is worth what they face on the job.
As disciples of Jesus Christ living in an affluent society, we often struggle with the idea of putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations. We have become so used to being comfortable that the idea of the smallest amount of discomfort bothers us. We want to be comfortable. We are often unwilling to deal with discomfort, much less pain, that may come to us if we live out our faith. Yet, if we are passionate about serving Jesus, then we are called to endure. Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses and follow Him. There is no offer of comfort, security, or landing on our feet. Instead Jesus offers to be with us when we are persecuted and suffer. Jesus shows us by example the meaning of sacrifice for the kingdom of God. Do you love God’s kingdom? Do you love Jesus? What are you willing to do? Are you willing to give up some creature comforts to help provide financial resources for those in need? Are you willing to give up your time to serve others through your church or other community organizations? Are you willing to take a chance by sharing your life with others that they might know your love of God?
Pain and suffering come in a variety of forms. Bull riders are willing to suffer physical pain in order to live out their passion. What are you willing to do in order to live out your passion for God?