What Killed High Cotton?

High Cotton was a beautiful, solid white, appaloosa colt—the kind of colt that horsemen work years to produce. He was a grandson of High Hand and a grandson of Pale Moon B. His registered name was High Man’s High Cotton. We had looked forward to his coming, and had thrilled at his development to age six months.
My son, Mac, and I had noticed that he was not as active as he had been. In fact, he appeared to be a bit weak. We decided to take him out of the pasture, and to the barn.
The vet came. The examination was thorough. The colt was indeed in a very weak condition. Several shots were given. I noticed that the doctor didn’t seem to be very optimistic.
The little fellow was extremely wet with perspiration. He could no longer stand. He lay on his side, on the ground, and I held his head in my arms. Suddenly, I realized that High Cotton was gone! Tears ran down my cheeks and Mac’s. We have lost good colts, and it is always a sad experience.
Since that day I have often asked myself: What killed High Cotton? Was it that we had neglected him? Had we failed to watch him as closely as we should have watched him? Could it be that his mother was not producing enough milk for him? Could the medicine have contributed to his death? Was the medicine too strong? or too much? Would he have been all right if we had brought him in a few days earlier?
The fact is, I don’t know what killed High Cotton. But, I know that he is gone!
I don’t know what killed the church in Sardis, but it was dead when the Lord sent a special letter to it. It had a “name” that it was alive, but the Lord said, “Thou art dead!” What a blow this message must have been to the faithful few. What would the Lord say to the church at ________? There are so many things that can kill a church: lack of leadership, lack of vision, lack of zeal, lack of work, lack of faith, lack of love, lack of concern for souls, lack of sound, solid, faithful-to-the-book gospel preaching, toleration of error, an unconverted and untaught membership, indifference, unconcern.
I don’t know what killed the church at ___?___. One thing I know: the brethren quit working. They quit hoping and planning. They did so well for several years. They accomplished whatever they set out to accomplish. But then they became satisfied, complacent. The last time I drove through that town the building had been sold and was being used as a dance hall. There was no congregation meeting in that town! Who is going to account for this in the day of judgment?
I don’t know why sister ___?___ died such a horrible spiritual death. She had been so faithful and so zealous. Is it possible that she had serious problems that the elders did not know about? Could she have been saved if the elders had worked with her sooner? Did we approach her in the right way? Did we work hard enough to try to encourage her? All I know is that she is “…dead while she liveth.” There are so many, many things which can lead one into spiritual death.
I wonder…what killed High Cotton? All I know is…He is gone!
Roy Deaver
(1922-2007)

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