Fauquier Baptist Church
Saturday, September 23, 2023
   First, let's talk about ropes - the kind that are used to rope cattle, horses, and such. There's all kinds or ropes made for this purpose: nylon, different kind of synthetics, etc., and these ropes come in various thicknesses, stiffness, and lengths to suit the individual roper and to accomplish the job  at hand. There are 100's of different brands, colors, and manufacturers. We all have our favorites.
   On the other hand a reata is made of rawhide, not the same leather as pocket  books, wallets, or boots. Rawhide is just that... RAW HIDE. It's insulting to call a reata a leather rope. Rawhide is far superior to leather as far as strength is concerned. Space does not permit to go into detail about every step in making a reata but there's the process of of drying a full hide, cutting out the defects, brands included, then a cut of 1and 1/2 inch wide is made for the entire length of the reata. (The curves are taken out by way of working the 1 1/2" strands around a bolt. The second cutting involves cutting smaller strands from the 1 1/2" piece.
   O.K., All the above is the material and process for making rawhide that to make a reata. A reata is a prized possession, much more expensive than a regular rope because most are hand made. My Uncle Jerry taught me to braid when I was just a lad. Braiding the right way is not easy especially when making a reata. Not many today are skilled in this craft. Braiding rawhide, say a 4 strand or 6 strand is tedious work and time consuming. Furthermore, the braiding must be uniform and tight enough to make the reata sufficiently stiff.
   An old-timer who made a living making reatas told about some of his earlier first efforts. This old fellow learned, as a child, from an Indian named Fernando, an expert. He brought his first reata to the Indian for his approval. The Indian took one look at it and threw it in the trash can, after pointing out all the imperfections; some hair still on the strands, the strands uneven, and loose spots. The Indian  said, "This job is an insult - didn't require any brains to make or skill!" Fernando the Indian expected his pupil to do it right. The Indian gave his pupil a hard time for an entire week. The next time he brought a reata to the Indian for inspection, it passed muster! He learned a valuable lesson as a youngster that he credited for his work ethic and success.
   The old-timer, Luis Ortega, turned out to be the premier reata maker in America. Luis Ortega passed away in 1995.
   All this brings to mind the verses in Ephesians 2:10:
   God also expects His workmanship to pass muster. Every one of God's young'uns are saved for a purpose. We are to be the "light of the world, the salt of the earth," witnesses, good examples representing our Lord, and so forth. We would like to believe that every true christian wants to do his very best for his/her Saviour. Sure, there's times when we've been abstract failures as we see it, but we do not quit and run like a deserter. Whatever the problem is, we have the right and privilege to take it to God (I John 1:9-10) and clear the air. Not one of us are perfect, God never said we had to be perfect in order to serve Him. Imperfect as we are, nevertheless saved for a reason as the verse states.
   It is our job to build the Kingdom of God and put a huge dent in hell's rolls, and remember, one day, we will give account to God... Romans 14:12. "He that winneth souls is wise."