This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives. (1 John 3:16)

THERE WAS A COWBOY who grew old and said, “I hope I die in the saddle.” I read about his story from his daughter’s perspective. She lived near him and became his caretaker. At age eighty-two, he had been diagnosed with polymyositis, a degenerative muscle disease, and macular degeneration, which eventually stole his sight. After some mishaps, he finally admitted he needed some help but adamantly refused to give up riding his favorite horse, Toby.

The cowboy’s other daughter called her care-giving sister and said, “Dad shouldn’t be riding that horse in his condition.”

“I know,” she answered, “but how do you tell a cowboy to give up his horse?”

Both of them knew he lived to ride, so they decided to just let it be. Because he lived alone, his daughters did not see the cowboy’s efforts, but they did see the stitches required when he fell down an embankment after a dismount. Their concern increased. Finally, the time came. Her dad called and said, “Come and get Toby. My riding days are done.”

This aging cowboy’s saga teaches us a valuable lesson. Give help when it’s asked for—and leave the rest alone. As Christians who are called to honor our parents, we not only lay down our lives to assist them, but also show love and respect by laying down our control, leaving their integrity and dignity intact.

Show your parents love and respect by laying down your life and your control.

Susan Browning Schulz is a wife and active mom of three grown children. She lives riverside in northwest Georgia and loves leading her small group.