Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 25, 2010

Cowboy Proverbs

If you have never visited Big Bend National Park, consider adding it to your Bucket List. It’s an absolutely beautiful and amazing place. Over the past couple of days, Cheryl and I have hiked five different trails in the park and seen some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. When we planned our hiking agenda, I told Cheryl that I would walk at her pace and hike whatever trails interested her. I am glad that I did because she chose some spectacular hikes. Several times along the way Cheryl turned to me and said, “I just have to stop for a moment to admire God’s good work.” It was really quite refreshing to walk slowly and to allow our eyes to feast on Big Bend’s magnificent vistas. We talked a lot along the way about being thankful for the beauty of God’s creation.

Cheryl and I also talked about the first explorers to this expansive part of our beautiful state. We tried to imagine what it must have been like for those rugged individuals who first came and blazed trails here. We were certainly thankful that we had our GPS, maps, paved roads, and park rangers to assist us. We also drove past many of the old ranches in the area, including the old Terlingua ghost town with its historic cemetery. In several places we saw the skeletal remnants of windmills — weathered sentinels still marking the places where ranchers and cowboys once lived. Big Bend and the surrounding territory is quintessential Texas.

Last night, Cheryl and I got into a conversation about how cowboys shaped the history of this area and how this hostile territory shaped the cowboys who lived and died here. Over the past few days we have enjoyed reading and learning about cowboy wisdom — a practical no-nonsense wisdom gleaned from doing life in the saddle in tough places like Big Bend. Our discussion at the dinner table turned to what the book of Proverbs might have looked like if it had been written by cowboys instead of guys like Solomon.

Here is a sampling of some things we read that started us thinking about how cowboys might have said some of the things that are written in the book of Proverbs. I have added verses from the book of Proverbs that communicate a similar message.

• Never miss a good chance to shut up. | “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” Proverbs 17:28

• The best way to keep your word is not to give it foolishly. | “It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,” and to reflect only after making vows.” Proverbs 20:25

• Nobody ever drowned himself in his own sweat. | “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” Proverbs 14:23

• If you work for a man, ride for his brand. Treat his cattle as if they were your own. | “Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who guards his master will be honored.” Proverbs 27:18

• Honesty is not something you should flirt with. You should be married to it. | “Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.” Proverbs 12:17

• Most folks are like a bob-wire fence. They have their good points. | “Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright.” Proverbs 20:11

• The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket. | “Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts.” Proverbs 22:26

• Too much debt doubles the weight on your horse and puts another in control of the reins. | “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7

• A person who agrees with all your palaver is either a fool or he’s gettin’ ready to skin ya. | “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin.” Proverbs 26:28

• Don’t get mad at somebody who knows more’n you do. It ain’t their fault. | “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.” Proverbs 9:9

• Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. | “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.” Proverbs 1:5

And, here is one final nugget of cowboy wisdom — Don’t squat with your spurs on! Best wishes for a blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the day!


  1. Love this post!!! Hope it has been a beautiful Thanksgiving for you two! It blessed our hearts greatly to see your faces last Friday night. Thank you for being our friends and for celebrating with us!

    • Celia…

      Thanks. We enjoyed celebrating Steve’s birthday. You did a great job of orchestrating the surprise. Please tell Steve that he will always be our favorite cowboy!

      Much Love,
      Omar and Cheryl

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