Jan
09

Reluctant Landers by Randy Rowley 1/9/08 ©

By

On a cool Saturday morning in early January, four friends and I proceeded to Giddings, where we met up with Tim Price and our guide – Joey Pohl.  We planned to hunt Flagg Pond west of and connected to Lake Somerville by Nails Creek when the lake is at a normal pool.

We arrived at Joey’s place, got our gear and guns ready, proceeded on a 350-yard hike to his natural blind, and positioned ourselves the best we could.  The seating was unique – a mostly submerged folding chair, a wooden perch, and three milk crate cartons with wood seats screwed to them.  While we were getting situated, Joey set out his dekes and two motorized ducks.

Immediately after legal shooting time, a lone duck headed for the left-side decoys (dekes), but it flared.  Tim made a great shot and dropped the gadwall 60 yards away.  A few minutes later, three widgeons locked onto the right-side dekes.  Van Short and Harry Biggs dropped all three.

By the time the hunt was over, we’d killed five more ducks.  There were also three cripples that dove and couldn’t be retrieved.

We saw hundreds of ducks, but the vast majority never came within gun range, even though there was heavy overcast and occasional fog.  Some headed towards the dekes but then saw the blind and flared.  Others ignored the dekes and landed by the real things paddling around a couple of hundred yards away.  Towards the end of the hunt, God blessed us with the awesome sight of around 200 ducks appearing right before us, but they landed around 200 yards short of the dekes, to our chagrin.

Our hunt was almost two months into the season.  The ducks had been decoyed and had seen plenty of blinds from points north to Somerville.  They had “been there and done that” and were very reluctant to join our painted imitations.  They knew the blind meant danger and mostly steered clear of it.

Exodus 3:1 – 4:17 recounts Moses’s calling by God to lead the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt.  Moses saw a burning bush not being consumed by the fire.  He investigated and encountered God, who introduced himself and told Moses about his new vocation change.  The Egyptians wanted Moses for murder in Egypt, so he was very reluctant to return and began to state objections.

His first objection was, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (See Exodus 3:11.)  In other words, “I’m not adequate to do the job.”  God set Moses straight, but Moses still tried to get off the hook asking, “‘What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you’?’” (See Exodus 4:1.)  God again instructed him.  Moses then tried the “I’m not a good speaker” ploy (see Exodus 4:10).  God responded, “‘Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.’” (See Exodus 4:12.)

Moses threw his final card on the table, saying, “‘Please send someone else.’” (See Exodus 4:13b.)  God’s angry response was Moses’s brother, Aaron, would speak to the people for him. (See Exodus 4:14-16.)  Due to Moses’s reluctance, he missed his chance to be the direct mouthpiece of God!

Sadly, many of us haven’t learned from Moses’s mistakes and are reluctant to serve God.  We think we’re not knowledgeable enough to teach or not good speakers.  Or we think others are better educated, wiser, more polished speakers, etc.  Self-doubt and lack of confidence plague us.  So we sit on our hands whenever a church or other body of believers leader asks for someone to fill a position, thinking, “They’ll get someone to do it.”  Sadly, primarily that attitude is why 20% of Christians in churches and other bodies of believers do 80% of the work, and the additional 80% do the remaining 20%.

Matthew 20:25-28 says, “Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  This concept was radical at the time and still is.  We don’t become great by lying to, cheating, or manipulating others (as many people in this world do).  Instead, we become great by serving others!

Jesus’s message was we must believe in and follow him, which will result in us serving others.  Just as inhaling will eventually and inevitably result in exhaling, accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord will result in us serving others as we become more like Jesus.  If it doesn’t, there wasn’t a real change from the old selfish sin nature to the new selfless creation in Christ.  2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  A conversion experience that doesn’t eventually result in serving God and others either wasn’t genuine or the disciple never grew and is still a baby Christian.

James 2:14-18 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

James didn’t mean that good deeds (or works) are required for people to become Christians.  And Paul made it clear that people can’t earn salvation by their good deeds because salvation is a gift.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”  Instead of us performing good deeds to result in salvation, our salvation will result in us performing good deeds.

How many people get a medical degree and then don’t put what they learned to use?  After doctors are licensed, they receive a sheet of paper proclaiming it.  How many of them say to themselves, “That’s nice,” and then file their license away in a drawer and never display it?  It’s pretty safe to say the answer isn’t very many.  Instead, they take what they learned and legally put it into practice.  In the same manner, how useful is it for us Christians to file away the spiritual gifts God has given us and never put them to use serving God and others?

Over the years, we had men lead devotionals at FCS meetings and other events, but none of them led them for long.  I thought about leading them but was extremely busy as the FCS president.  Then God asked my heart, “Why not you?”  My answer was if I added another duty, I wouldn’t do anything well.  God said to my heart, “I’ll make a way.”

During my many years of being a Christian, one of the greatest truths I’ve learned is God is much more interested in our availability than he is in our abilities.  God reminded me of that truth and assured me he’d give me the time to prepare, teach me what to say, and help me speak if I’d trust him and make myself available to lead devotionals at FCS meetings and other events.

I committed to him to write and lead devotionals.  In turn, God added additional FCS officers, which lightened my load and enabled me to fulfill my duties as FCS president and write and lead devotionals.

Has God been calling you to serve him in a new capacity?  Has he revealed his will to you?  Have you answered him?  If you haven’t, I encourage you not to be reluctant like those ducks on that cool January morning, Moses, and me – hoping someone else will do what God called you to do.  Step out in faith and say, “Yes, Lord, I’ll do it.”

John Bobo, Mark Dillow, Tim, Harry Biggs, and Randy

Categories : Devotionals

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

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