by Kent Engle
You don't have to be Daniel Boone to experience some very strong emotions while engaged in the pursuit of the elusive whitetail giant.
When I took the SD card out of my Moultrie game camera, I hardly expected to see more than a bunch of worthless squirrel shots — and if I was lucky, a doe or two. The monster 10-point swaggering through the 10-second video seemed like a surreal dream! I couldn't believe this guy was actually in Pennsylvania, much less on my camera!
My mediocre approach to hunting turned into a purposeful passion.
Of course one of the frustrations of Pennsylvania hunting is the mass of humanity that floods the woods during hunting season. As I carefully stalked up to my favorite hunting spot, I saw an organized drive working right through the posted woods where my giant had been filmed.
It would be easy to lay claim to my land. But what would Jesus do?
I carefully approached the flank-watch hunter.
The old gaffer looked at me over his shoulder and declared that he had "been hunting this property for 30 years" before dismissing me to watch his drivers come up and declare that a buck had just been shot in my woods.
I sighed to release some of my frustration and disappointment. It would be easy to lay claim to my land.
But what would Jesus do?
What should I do?
How much will I risk in my response?
The answer to that question is based on how much skin I have in the game. While there's arguably value in hunting, there's never enough value to risk jeopardizing my Christian testimony. Moments like this are the quick test as to how surrendered I really am to God’s claim over my life.
If something holds us back from being a full and accurate representation of Christ, it has too much power over our lives.
Will I allow this to consume my emotions and accelerate my frustration to the point of retaliation?
Or, perhaps more tempting, will I air my disgust but walk away silently to make myself feel righteous?
Do I have the integrity to calmly walk away after patting the successful hunter on the shoulder with a word of congratulation?
If something holds us back from being a full and accurate representation of Christ to our neighbors in stressful situations, it has too much power over our lives.
Our desire to win an old gaffer to the Lord should come first. Shooting a monster buck is a strong desire as well, but the balance of the two desires will clear away the fog and endless Facebook conversations about the virtues or evils of sports. The answer should be clear in our hearts: "Whatsoever thou doest in word or deed, do all to the glory of God."
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Dr. Timothy Cooley, Sr.
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