God’s Greatest Love
September! You know what that means? Four more weeks until hunting season! Fall is my favorite time of year. I wait all year to get out in the woods and, as Denise says, sit up in a tree for hours without moving in the cold weather. It doesn’t make any sense to her at all, and it is probably not the brightest thing an educated man would want to do. But she puts up with it year after year.
I think it’s because she is just happy to be rid of me for awhile, and to enjoy some solitude. But what she cannot understand is all that happens when you’re sitting in a tree fifteen to twenty feet off the ground in the cold of winter. Climbing up the tree while it is still dark before the birds start singing and listening and watching as the earth comes to life. It seems that all the animals begin to stir just before sunrise, which is beautiful coming over the horizon with birds singing and moving out of their nests and starting their day -- Watching the sun rays break into the darkness as the mist of your breath freezes in front of you.
The squirrels begin to descend from the tree tops and start scavenging for buried nuts, and as you watch them you can see that no two squirrels are exactly the same. After a while you begin to recognize the squirrels in your area and when I am bored I might name each one. The excitement of getting so close to wildlife that you could reach out and touch them is exhilarating. I have had squirrels come down the tree and step onto me head; I have had a covey of quail come into my ground blind and have one perch on the toe of my boot. Keeping perfectly still and silent and experiencing nature in such an intimate way is fascinating.
You blend into their environment so perfectly that they don’t even know that you are there. That is the key you know? Blending in so they don’t even recognize you as an outsider; it is what makes staying invisible possible and being able to infiltrate their world. Waiting for the deer to come in is the most challenging part of the day. Deer are the ghosts of the forest, and to be skilled enough for them not to see you, hear you, or smell you, takes great preparation and patience. The blessing is that you don’t just harvest any deer; you wait for the one that is the right age and size; protecting the younger and less wary until they grow older and wiser.
Camouflage is a key ingredient for success and scent elimination is just as important and finally learning not to make any movement that will give you away. If you can do all of these things, you might be a successful hunter.
You know that there are a lot of people who live out their Christianity in the same fashion? They do everything in their power not to stand out in the world or to be noticed. They put on their camouflage so they will blend right in, and they know if they make too many movements they will be recognized; they will be seen and their cover blown.
Oh I am not sure they do it on purpose, but then I have met others who do. They live one way around their church family, but another when dealing with the world. They separate their business life from their spiritual life. They use the world’s standards when dealing with the world and Christian standards while dealing with Christians. They want to be so hidden that others will walk right in on top of them, even close enough to reach out and touch them, but they lay very still so as not to arouse the notion that a Christian is in their midst.
So you see some may find my love of hunting as uneducated, foolishness and trickery used to overcome an unwary deer in its natural habitat, but they use the same tactics every day of their lives. What’s that? You would not take the life of an animal? I would have to disagree with you! Every day that you hide and allow the poor and lame, the lost and deceived, confused and torn of this world walk right in on you, and you hide your faith, the very thing that they need, you may be taking a life far more valuable then that of any animal.
My harvest is for sustenance and purpose, but those persons that are not harvested for Christ through you and me are much more then simply left to roam the forest of satanic traps, but the very death of their souls. Christ says that if we deny Him or His gospel that He will deny us before His Father in heaven.
Hunting is a very rewarding sport, and I look forward to it each year and if you are looking for me during that season you will probably find me at Oak tree apartments, second floor, just off of Deer Path trail, just outside the city limits. I think the mail man knows to forward my mail to that address every year about the first of October. Yet no matter how much I love hunting and providing food for my family, and food pantries, there is nothing in this world more gratifying than hunting and winning a lost soul for Jesus Christ. Your reward is not just a head to mount on your wall, but the life of a human being and a reward in heaven; there is no greater reward then that. What is your greatest love?
Pastor Scott Baird