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 shelf, and three milk crate cartons that had wood seats screwed onto them.  While we were getting situated, Joey set out his decoys and two motorized ducks.

Just after legal shooting time, a lone duck headed for the left-side decoys, but it saw something it didn’t like and flared.  Tim dropped the gadwall 60 yards away.  A few minutes later, three widgeons locked onto the right-side decoys.  This time Van Short and Harry Biggs dropped all three.

We killed five more ducks with three cripples that couldn’t be retrieved by the end of the hunt.

We saw hundreds of ducks that morning, but the vast majority never came within gun range, even though there was heavy overcast and occasional fog.  Some would head towards our decoys but then see the blind and flare away.  Others would ignore our decoys and land 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 a couple of hundred ducks that appeared in front of us, but to our chagrin, they landed about 200 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 mostly steered clear of it.

Exodus 3:1 – 4:17 recounts Moses’s 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 investigated, not knowing that he would encounter God.  The Lord introduced himself and told Moses about his new vocation change.  The Egyptians wanted Moses for murder in Egypt, so he was very reluctant to go back there.  He 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, he was saying, “I’m not adequate to do the job.”  God set Moses straight, but Moses still tried to get off the hook.  Moses then asked, “‘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 answered him.  Moses then tried the “I’m not a good speaker” ploy (see 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’s mistakes and are reluctant to serve the Lord.  We think that we’re not knowledgeable enough to teach or not good speakers.  Or we think that there are people who are more educated, wiser, more polished speakers, etc.  Self-doubt and lack of confidence plague us.  So we sit on our hands whenever a church leader asks for someone to fill a long-term 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 church work, and the other 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 so many people in this world do).  Instead, we become great by serving others!

Jesus didn’t 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 doesn’t, there wasn’t 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 either not 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 was not saying that deeds (or works) are required for us to become Christians.  Paul made it clear that people can’t earn salvation through works 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 deeds resulting in salvation, salvation will result in deeds.

How many doctors get their medical degrees and then don’t 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 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?

We had men lead devotionals at FCS meetings and events for many years, but none of them led for long.  I thought about leading them but was too busy in my role as FCS president.  Then God asked to my heart, “Why not you?”  My answer was that if I added this duty, I wouldn’t do anything well.  God said to my heart, “I will make a way.”

I committed to him that I would lead devotionals.  Since then, God added additional FCS officers, which lightened my load and enabled me to fulfill my duties as FCS president and lead devotionals.

During my four 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

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

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