Romans 15:2: “Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’” *Bible Translation: The Message (MSG)

When it comes to purposeful use of strength, we can learn from the horses.

In 2004, Claudia Feh raised a herd of Przewalski horses in France and reintroduced some of them to their natural habitat, the Mongolian Gobi Desert. Niobe Thompson, a Canadian anthropologist and documentary film maker, interviewed her. The following paragraph is an excerpt of the PBS show “Equus ‘Story of the Horse’-Episode 1: Origins”:

“Horses in the wild are constantly negotiating for a rung in the ladder. Each horse has its place. Hierarchy gives the herds strength and ensures only the fittest stallions get to mate. But surprisingly, it isn’t just the toughest stallions that rise to the top. [Claudia Feh, an expert on social behavior of free-living horses, observed]: ‘the dominance [of a leading horse] is not based on size, it’s not based on physical strength – it’s mental strength; it’s personality. This translates to the horse/human relationship because obviously horses are about 5 to 10 times heavier than its rider. How can we ride a horse? We are so much smaller, and yet we dominate the horse. It’s mental.’”

Interacting with these beautiful and intelligent beasts and experience their funny quirks, the ensuing bond that develops between horse and rider is very special. Horses allow us to use their strength, which is a wonderful example how strength is graciously put to service.

We too are given strengths, talents, and gifts. Our strengths are supposed to serve others, not ourselves. When strength is used to overpower, dominate and hurt, it turns into a curse. Strength-abuse has been a scourge in the world ever since there are people.

In God’s kingdom the strong serve the weak, not the other way around. Our strengths turn into a blessing when we serve a need. Not only do we bless the ones we serve; we will find that the blessing goes both ways. The ones we serve bless us also.

Service reaps multiple benefits – the greatest benefit of all is making new friends.