I suffer from barnhead.
There, I’ve said it. I admit it, and if I didn’t, my wife would admit it for me!
Barnhead. It’s not a bad haircut, but rather...well, a state of mind, or possibly a state of spirit.
When I was a boy, I owned a horse. When my Dad bought the horse, he was already named. Now, when I tell you the name, you may wonder why my Dad would buy the thing, much less allow me to ride it! The name...Dufus. Yes, that’s right, Dufus!
To ancient Hebrews and Babylonians, nothing existed until it had a name. Its name expressed its character. You know, the Bible, and particularly the Old Testament, is full of people who have names they lived up to. Well, Dufus lived up to his name. However, over time we came to a general understanding - I wouldn’t spur him, and he would allow me a ride, up to a point. That point was the furthest point in the field, which wasn’t all that big. But once we ran out of room and turned back (or he thought we had gone close enough to the end), the ride was over, and Dufus showed his barnhead.
He took off toward the barn. We ambled to the far fence, but getting back to the barn was an imperative. Dufus wanted the bit out of his mouth. Dufus wanted the saddle off his back. Dufus wanted to be fed. And he wanted all of this NOW!
My wife tells me I’m a Dufus. Well, she doesn’t actually say it that way, but rather she tells me I have barnhead like Dufus. When plans are made…barnhead. When the trip is over...barnhead. When it’s time to eat…barnhead.
Now, I think barnhead is not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t think the scriptures teach that it is a sin. I’ve never heard of a counselor or read any books that say, “Here’s how to get rid of barnhead. Take 2 dippity-do pills and comb your hair every morning.” (OK, go ahead & pause your reading to search the internet for “dippity-do.”)
In fact, barnhead can be very beneficial in many circumstances.
When I am exhausted and need rest...barnhead.
When I am emotionally drained...barnhead.
When I miss my family...barnhead.
When the dinner bell rings...barnhead. (Did I mention that one already?)
You see what I mean, right? There is another circumstance when barnhead is also beneficial. Do you remember when Joseph, Mary, & Jesus were in Jerusalem? It was when Jesus was 12 years old. The time came to leave - they were traveling in a caravan with other family members, and they assumed Jesus was with family or friends as they traveled along. (By the way, I’ve often wondered if his cousin John - later called the Baptist - who was about 12 or 13 then, was part of that caravan.)
Once they got a day’s journey down the road, they went looking for Him, but couldn’t find Him. I don’t know if Joseph and Mary panicked like I would/did when I couldn’t find one of my children, but they did feel compelled to locate Him. So, they backtracked to Jerusalem. And although they had been gone only a day, it took THREE days to find Him!
I am personally amazed at this; I have questions. They had gone a day’s journey; did they wait until the next morning or set off to Jerusalem immediately? Where did they stay those 2 nights before they found Him? Where did HE stay? Did He eat? For 3 days, a 12 year old was with the doctors of law, conversing with them about the Old Testament. Was this common or unusual? The scripture says people were astonished about him. Didn’t someone say, “Hey, who - and where - are your folks?” So many questions.
Anyway, I think it is safe to say that, when Joseph and Mary couldn’t find Jesus, they got barnhead looking for Him. They were intent on finding Him. Unfortunately - at least from their perspective - it took 3 times longer to get back to Him than it did to leave Him behind.
And that’s me - dare I say “us?”
We are going along, doing our own thing, making some life assumptions, figuring He’ll be there at the end of the day, then...hey, where’s Jesus? Is he over there, or there, or there? Where’d He go?
We’ve left Jesus behind, and once we finally realize what we’ve done, it takes 3 times as long, 3 times the effort, to get back to Him. And where do we find Him? Well, of course, He’s going about His father’s business, as He always has and always will. He’s in the temple, astonishing people, being Jesus.
If you’ve ever had this experience, if you’ve ever gone about life, making assumptions, figuring He’ll be there at the end of the day, just to find out that you’ve left Him behind, let me give you the answer...barnhead!
As fast as you can, go seek Him out. It might not be easy. It might take time and effort. But in the end, you’ll be amazed!
That’s my pastoral perspective. Thanks for reading!
Pastor Mike Rodgers