The character I find myself learning from the most is not the wise, gray-haired Ben Cartwright, but his youngest son, Little Joe. You see, I can relate to Joe because I too am still quite young. I am a twenty-one year old college student. When the series began, Joe Cartwright was only seventeen years old. He was very young. He was the impulsive one. He could be hotheaded at times. However, as Ben Cartwright said in one episode, “[Joe] may be young and he may be foolish, but he's honest and he's honorable. I trust him with my life and so can you.”
Little Joe reminds me that we are never too young to do the right thing. I’ve seen him take on the job of temporary sheriff at the age of nineteen and stop two hired killers singlehanded. I’ve seen him put his life on the line for others—even complete strangers—countless times. I’ve seen him stand up for what was right and speak out against what was wrong, even when the whole town was against him. Even at such a young age, Joe Cartwright was a man of unwavering integrity.
Last night, I got to thinking about some of the people God used in Bible times. Mary was but a young, teenage girl when she gave birth to the Lord Jesus. David was just a kid when he slew Goliath. Then there was Daniel who faced the lions’ den for refusing not to pray to the God he loved. And there are many more. I personally believe that Jesus taught in the temple at twelve years old just to show us that no one is ever too young to be used of God.
The fact that I am a twenty-one year old college student is not an excuse for me to act like a schoolboy. I feel that my generation has been ruined because people haven't enough faith in us to expect what they should out of us. I am reminded of this every time I think of Joe Cartwright or watch him in Bonanza. Everyone was so much more mature back then. Oh how I wish it were that way now!