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, which is to the west of and connected to Lake Somerville by a creek, when the lake is at normal pool.

We arrived at the Pohl’s place and then got our gear and guns ready.  We then proceeded on a 350 yard hike to the natural blind and got situated.  The seating was unique – a wooden shelf for the dog, a mostly submerged folding chair, a wooden perch, and three milk crate cartons that had wood seats screwed onto them.  We got situated the best that we could and watched Joey set out the decoys and two motorized ducks.

In a few minutes it started to get light.  Just after legal shooting time a lone duck headed for the decoys to the left of the spread.  He saw something that he didn’t like and flared.  Tim was the only one who shot.  He dropped the gadwall 60 yards away.  A few minutes later three widgeons came in to the decoys on the right of the spread.  This time Van Short and Harry Biggs shot and dropped all three.

Before we called it a day, we killed five more ducks and had three cripples that either dove and couldn’t be retrieved or floated away into deep water (one floated away faster than Tim could wade after it).

We saw hundreds more ducks that morning but the vast majority never came within gun range, despite the facts that we were blessed with a heavy overcast and occasional fog.  Some would head towards our decoys but then see the blind and flare away.  Others would see our decoys but also see the real things paddling around a couple hundred yards away.  Most of those ducks decided to join their brethren.  Towards the end of the hunt we were blessed with the awesome sight of a couple hundred ducks that appeared in front of us, but to our chagrin, they put down a couple hundred yards away.

Our hunt was almost two months into the season.  The ducks we hunted 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 that the blind meant danger and most steered clear of it.

Exodus 3:1 – 4:17 recounts the story of Moses’ calling by God to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt.  Moses saw a bush that was burning but not being consumed by the fire.  He went to investigate, not knowing that he would encounter God.  The Lord introduced himself and told Moses about his new change in vocation.  Moses really had no desire to go back to Egypt, where he was wanted for murder.  He was very reluctant and began to put up objections.

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

In Exodus 4:13b Moses threw his final card on the table, saying, ““Please send someone else.””  God angrily responded in Exodus 4:14-16, telling Moses that his brother, Aaron, would speak to the people for him.  Due to Moses’ reluctance, he missed his chance to be the direct mouthpiece of God!

Sadly many of us haven’t learned from Moses’ mistakes and are reluctant to serve the Lord.  We think that we’re not knowledgeable enough to teach or a good enough speaker.  Or we think that there are people who are more educated, wiser, more polished, etc.  We are plagued by self-doubt and a lack of confidence.  So we sit on our hands whenever a church leader asks for someone to fill a long or short term position.  “They’ll get someone to do it,” we say to ourselves.  Sadly this attitude is why 20% of Christians do 80% of the work in the church and the other 80% do only the remaining 20%.

Jesus made several pointed statements regarding serving God and others.  One of the best known is Matthew 20:25-28, which 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 was a radical concept at the time and still is.  We don’t become great by lying to, cheating, or manipulating people (as so many people in this world do).  Instead we become great by serving other people!

Jesus did not proclaim that serving others was the way to heaven.  Instead his message was that we must believe in and follow him, which will result in us wanting to serve others.  Just as inhaling will eventually and inevitably result in exhaling, salvation will eventually and inevitably result in serving others as a Christian grows.  If it does not then there was never a real change from the old selfish sin nature to the new selfless creation in Christ.  A conversion experience that does not eventually result in serving God and others was not genuine.

James also made some very pointed statements about working for the Lord.  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 was not saying that works are required in order for us to be saved.  Paul made it clear in Ephesians 2:8-9 that, “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.”  We can’t earn salvation through works because salvation is a free gift.  Instead salvation will result in works.

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

For many years I had thought about leading devotionals at FCS events.  God finally said, “Why not you?”  My answer to him was I was too busy being the FCS president as it was and if I added this duty I wouldn’t do anything well.  He said to my heart, “I will make a way.”

I committed to him that I would lead devotionals.  Since that time God has added additional FCS officers, which has lightened my load and enabled me to be both the FCS president and to lead devotionals.

During my three decades plus of being a Christian one of the greatest truths that I have learned is that God is much more interested in our availability than he is in our abilities.  Once again I had to relearn that truth.  The Lord made it clear to me that if I would make myself available to him, he would, like Moses, give me the time to prepare, help me speak, and teach me what to say.

Has the Lord 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, Moses, and me, wishing for someone else to do what God has called you to do.  Step out in faith and say, “Yes Lord, your will be done.”

Mark Dillow, Tim, Harry, Randy, and John Bobo
Categories : Devotionals

Bible verse of the day

Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

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