The Kid in the Cowboy Hat

Everyone just called him “Tex.” He was stuck with it. The poor guy relocated from a ranch outside El Paso to suburban Chicago… right smack in the middle of his senior year in high school.

I’ll never forget the day Tex ambled through our classroom door. Western boots, Wrangler jeans, and a plaid button-up tucked under a finely tooled silver belt buckle. He was the real deal and never tried to hide it.

When a faded wide-brim Stetson strode across campus each morning, we knew Tex had arrived. I would have loved to see him lasso a steer, or holster a spinning six-shooter… or whatever it was that cowboys did in those days. I reckon he woulda been downright pleased to oblige, had I asked.

I got to know Tex well over the next few months. His kind and humble attitude was as genuine as the rawhide leather belt around his waist. Some kids snickered behind his back, but I admired his authenticity. Jeers rolled off him like tumbleweed on a dusty plain. I imagine most kids in his situation would have left the hat at home and traded their boots for Air Jordans. But Tex didn’t leave his true convictions behind closed doors.

Do we?

As Christians, one of the greatest compliments we can receive is to hear that we’re different. But these days it can be tough… intimidating… even dangerous to stick out for Jesus. Our natural desire for comfort and conformity often overrides our will to take on the world around us. We justify by saying we don’t want to make Christianity look “weird,” or make unbelievers in our circle feel awkward or angry. Of course, there’s a time and place for good judgment. But when we consider the dark state of the world, our lives should be noticeably different – like lights in the darkness – like that kid in the cowboy hat.

Philippians 2:15 – “That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

– Ron Reid

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