Jun
13

Seizing Opportunities by Randy Rowley 6/13/14 ©

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

FCS had four memorable self-guided mouflon and Corsican sheep hunts on 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 they ought to see the view of the valley from the stand I hunted from 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.  Brandon ran ahead, blessed with an inexhaustible energy supply like most boys.  Pat set a quicker pace than the rest of us in an attempt to keep up with Brandon, while Randy Slagle and I walked together about 20 feet behind them.

The events that followed happened in quick succession.  Brandon shouted, “Look, dad, sheep!”  A loud KABOOM from Pat’s rifle soon followed.  When Randy Slagle 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 fired two more shots, I shot my Remington Model 700 in .25-06 twice, and Randy Slagle 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 stood during Pat’s initial shot.  It was pretty easy to find.  From there, I tracked the exact path 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 pellets out of them!

Then as I was looking in the direction 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.  God shined a light on him for me.

Randy Slagle, Pat, and I split the meat.  Randy Slagle and Pat drew a card from a UNO deck to determine who got the horns – Randy drew the high card. (I wasn’t interested in the horns because I’d already mounted a mouflon ram I shot during the second FCS self-guided sheep hunt on the Appletree Ranch.)

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

But on this sheep hunt, we faced a now or never situation.  We hadn’t seen any sheep on the three hunts before our encounter with that herd, and the odds were low we’d have another such opportunity during our one remaining hunt that weekend.  Taking all of that into consideration in a few milliseconds, Pat, Randy Slagle, 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 church or body of believers.  Other opportunities are fewer and farther between, such as being asked to teach or join the praise band.  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’m not saying Christians must seize every opportunity presenting itself.  To try to do so will often lead to failure or physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.  Unfortunately, when a person does a good job in many churches or bodies of believers, the word spreads, and they soon start to receive offers from leaders who are desperately looking for helpers.  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 then 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.

Sometimes leaders put undue pressure on potential servants.  I’ve had people tell me it was God’s will for me to volunteer.  I even had one leader tell me I’d be sinning if I didn’t agree to take the job he wanted me to.

Instead, I’m saying 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.  God said in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God also tells us exactly what his will is, 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’s God’s will 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’s God’s will we obey those in authority.  1 Peter 2:13-15 says, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.  For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.”

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 he’ll reward those who faithfully do little things with much greater responsibilities – see Matthew 25:14-30.)

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

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

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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