Seizing Opportunities by Randy Rowley 6/13/14 ©


FCS was born at the Appletree Ranch, close to Leakey in Southwest Texas and only about 15 miles from Garner State Park.  The area is absolutely gorgeous – mountainous with steep ravines, green forests, and the clear Frio (Portuguese for “cold”) River.  Many Texans believe that this area is the jewel of the state.  Campers often have to wait up to a year to get a Garner campsite reservation when school is not in session.

FCS had four memorable mouflon and Corsican sheep hunting trips at the Appletree Ranch, but the third trip was the most exciting.  On a late fall trip, we hunted from stands on Friday evening and Saturday morning without success.  So we decided to conduct a group stalk on Saturday afternoon.

The stalk also bore no fruit.  As we regrouped on a dirt road, I told the group that they ought to see the view of the valley from the stand that I hunted in that morning.  The stand was just a few yards up the road, so I started to lead the group to it.

One of the hunters, Pat Wilson, had brought his early teen son, Brandon, along.  Blessed with an inexhaustible supply of energy like most boys, Brandon ran on ahead.  Pat set a quicker pace than the rest of us in an attempt to keep up with his son, while Randy Slagle and I walked together about 20 feet behind Pat and Brandon.

The events that followed happened in quick succession.  Brandon shouted, “Look, dad, sheep!”  A loud KABOOM from Pat’s rifle soon followed.  When Randy and I arrived on the ledge, we were greeted by the sight of a herd of approximately 15 mouflon sheep, about 150 yards away, running down the steep hill as fast as they could go.  Pat launched two more shots at the panicked herd, I managed to shoot my Remington Model 700 .25-06 twice, and Randy shot once.

The sheep stopped running when they reached the safety of the valley.  We then encircled the valley.  I volunteered to go down into the valley to drive the sheep up towards the other hunters.  The plan failed because one of the hunters grew impatient and fired a couple of shots in the hope of scaring the sheep up the hill.  The sheep ran out of the valley, exactly where I was planning to position myself.

After reaching the valley, I searched to see if we had downed any sheep.  The search at first bore no fruit, but I didn’t give up.  I climbed back up the hill and located the spot where the sheep had been standing during Pat’s initial shot.  It was pretty easy to find.  From there, I was able to track the exact path that the sheep took in their flight to safety.  No, I didn’t follow their tracks – I followed their pellets!  Gobs of sheep pellets were scattered in lines running straight down the hill.  We literally scared the scat out of them!

Then as I was looking down in the direction that the sheep took, the sun broke through the clouds and radiated a spot perhaps ten yards square about 100 yards away.  In the center of that spot lay a multicolored Mouflon ram.

We split the meat between Pat, Randy, and me.  Pat and Randy Slagle drew a card from a UNO deck to determine who owned the horns – Randy drew the high card.  (I was not interested in the horns because I had already mounted a mouflon ram that I shot during the second FCS hunt at the Appletree Ranch.)

Frequently when hunting big game, hunters have time to pick out the animal that they want and to take a careful, steady shot.  If something isn’t right, such as the angle that the hunter is presented with is wrong or another animal is standing in front of or behind the chosen one, many hunters will often pass on the shot until a shot opportunity they’re comfortable with presents itself.

But at this sheep hunt, we faced a now or never situation.  We hadn’t seen any sheep on the three hunts before our encounter with the herd.  The odds were poor that we would have another such opportunity during our one remaining hunt that weekend.  Taking all of that into consideration in a few milliseconds, Pat, Randy, and I seized the opportunity and let loose.

Paul had a few things to say about seizing opportunities, including:

  • Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).
  • “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16).
  • “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5).

Some opportunities are abundant, such as working with children or people with special needs at your local church.  Other opportunities are fewer and farther between, such as the opportunity to teach or sing a solo.  Other opportunities are a once-in-a-lifetime chance, such as being asked to serve as a deacon or go on a mission trip to Romania.

I am not saying that Christians must seize every opportunity that presents itself.  To try to do so will often lead to failure or physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.  Unfortunately, in many churches or bodies of believers, when a person does a good job, the word spreads, and he or she will start to receive offers from leaders who are desperately looking for helpers.

Sometimes leaders put undue pressure on potential servants.  I’ve had people tell me that it was God’s will for me to volunteer.  I even had one leader tell me that if I didn’t volunteer, I would be sinning.  I’ve seen Christians with a propensity to say, “I’ll do it” get bombarded by requests to serve.  Sometimes they get overwhelmed or burnt out and will throw up their hands and say, “I can’t do this anymore.”  Spiritually immature servants can even turn their backs on God and the church or body of believers.

Instead, I am saying that when opportunities present themselves, we must explore whether it is God’s will for us to say, “I’ll do it.”  Christians have distinct advantages over unbelievers when it comes to decision-making.  We know that God plans to prosper us, not harm us, and plans to give us hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11).  God also tells us exactly what his will is for us, including:

  • God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
  • “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin” (1 Thessalonians 4:3 NLT).
  • It is God’s will that we “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
  • It is God’s will that we obey those in authority and the laws of the land (see 1 Peter 2:13-15).

We also have methods for determining God’s will, including:

  • Reading and meditating on God’s word (see Joshua 1:8).
  • Seeking the counsel of fellow believers (see Proverbs 11:14 and Proverbs 27:17).
  • Asking God what he thinks about the opportunity (see Matthew 7:7-8 and James 4:2c).
  • Listening to God while serving him (Jesus made it clear that he will reward those who are faithful to do little things with much greater responsibilities (see Matthew 25:14-30)).

Opportunities, big and small, will present themselves to us throughout our lifetimes.  The question isn’t whether we should or shouldn’t take advantage of such opportunities; instead, we should ask God whether it’s his will for us to pull the trigger.

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Randy with his mouflon ram on the second FCS Appletree Ranch hunt 

Categories : Devotionals

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Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

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

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