Scratching Itches by Randy Rowley 8/15/14 ©


On the night of August the 13th I finally became the owner of a genuine bass boat – a 1989 18′ 4″ Champion 184 side console fiberglass bass boat with a 1996 150 HP Mercury fuel injected outboard motor, two live wells, two fish finders, and a built-in ice chest. It cruised Lake Georgetown with three of us on board during the test drive that night at 50 MPH.

My new boat was quite an improvement over my first motor boat that I had bought four years earlier. It was a 1986 16’ Mirrocraft aluminum V-hull with a 30 HP Evinrude tiller motor and a camo paint job. I added a 40 lb. thrust foot-controlled trolling motor, an ice chest with an aerator in it for a livewell, and a camo blind.

It was a good duck hunting boat, but it was not a very good bass fishing boat. Its tiller motor became very tiresome on long runs, and with a 30 HP motor just about every run was a long run. It had three bench seats – two of which I had to crawl over to operate the trolling motor. As it sat high out of the water the wind would catch it and blow it around when using the trolling motor, making it hard to keep it going in a straight line on a windy day.

I was happy with my former boat and really had no immediate plans to replace it, but the gears on the motor’s lower going out changed all of that. I decided that it would be better to upgrade than to spend a lot of money on a repair.  I replaced the lower unit with a used one and sold the boat.

To say that I was ecstatic about my acquisition of my new boat is an understatement. I was on Cloud Nine.

Then two days later I received a call from my wife that a yellow “Boat Notice” sticker had been taped to our front door. The notice stated “The status of your property has been reported and is photo documented for inappropriate storage of a boat.” It continued with, “The City of Austin ordinances and the Anderson Mill deed restrictions do not allow for boats to be parked in the front yard, driveway or street.”

Parking wasn’t an issue with my former boat – it was small enough to fit in my garage (just barely). But my new boat is two feet too long and half a foot too wide for my garage, so I had to park it on my driveway.

Immediately I went from sustained joy to a terrible anger. My “Come and Take It” and “Don’t Tread on Me” tendencies came out in full force. I immediately wrote a letter in my head to the Neighborhood Nazis Association, although I toned down my rhetoric (a little bit) when I actually put my fingers to my keyboard a few hours later. Still, the burning anger lingered for quite a while.

As I cooled down I asked myself if I was mad because my neighborhood association was being overbearing or was I mad because their action had revealed a deeper truth – that my delight in my new acquisition was turning into idolatry.

The Book of Exodus tells the story of God giving the 10 Commandments to his people. The second Commandment is “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” (Exodus 20:4.)

Many years later, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.” (Isaiah 44:9.)

As sportsmen we have a tendency to develop a favorite rifle and shotgun, a favorite rod and reel, a favorite knife, a favorite duck call, favorite bass lures, and even favorite outdoors clothing. Many of us also have favorite professional bass fishermen, deer hunting TV hosts, and even favorite sportsmen reality TV show hosts like the Robertson’s.

There is nothing wrong with maintaining your outdoor gear. It’s also fine to deeply respect an individual for his or her accomplishments. When we get into trouble is when things or people start to become objects of worship. In essence, we misplace our priorities. Respect can start to become idolatry when an object’s or person’s value starts to become more valuable than the value that we put on our Heavenly Father.

For some, idolatry takes the form of buying a new rifle or shotgun before every hunting season or a new rod and reel before the start of every spring. The issue isn’t whether the sportsman really needs what he’s buying or if he can afford it. The real issue is his desire to always have something new – and this desire becomes the itch that he must always scratch.

To determine whether an object or person has become divine in our lives, we must ask ourselves:

  • Is my high regard for an object or person hurting my relationship with my family and friends?
  • Has this object or person become more important than my relationship with God?
  • Am I no longer serving others?
  • Am I no longer striving to follow Jesus’ words to “Love your neighbor as yourself?”  (Mark 12:28-31 says, “One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”  “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.””)

If your answer to any of the above questions is yes, it’s time to lower our toys and heroes from their pedestals and to elevate Jesus to his rightful place – as the Lord of our lives.  If you determined that an object or person has become an idol, the Bible has just one answer – flee.  1 Corinthians 10:14 says, “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”  Don’t try to stand and fight it – run from it!

Randy’s new boat
Categories : Devotionals

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Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him — his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

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