February 1, 2023 | View PDF
A beautiful buck came out about sixty yards to my right. Just by the size of his rack, I knew he was a good deer – a definite ten-pointer. I didn’t have much time to gather myself for a good shot because he wasn’t going to stay around long. When I fired I wasn’t sure I had made a good shot, from the way he ran. But shortly thereafter I realized my shot was perfect. He was a beautiful animal with a wide rack. As I began to count his points, I discovered my ten-pointer was only an eight. I say “only” here for emphasis. Because this was an absolute gorgeous deer, and I was still so pleased with it. I was so pleased that if I had known he was an eight before I shot, I still would have. My pictures verify my assessment. As my friend and I admired the deer, we realized this buck was never going to be anything but an eight-pointer. One could tell that while he would have gotten greater in mass and size, he would always remain a deer with eight points unless some trauma happened. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been the king of the hill, but his limits were there according to his genetics. What did I think of his limits? I thought he was so perfect that I decided to have a picture of him blown up and put on canvas. It arrived two days ago.
I am reminded of the words of the apostle Paul when he explained how every member is important in the church. He compared it to our physical body and admitted that some parts of the body don’t seem as important as others. He was saying that some will be ten, twelve, and even fourteen pointers, but others will always be a six or an eight. Then he encourages us in two ways. First by explaining how all parts are needed, no matter how insignificant some may think they are. A good example of that is my foot. It remains hidden underneath a sock and shoe, but without it I am on crutches. And about its little toe, I promise you when it hits the bed frame, the pain doesn’t remain just in my little toe and foot. It reverberates throughout my entire body. But Paul also encourages us by reminding us how God elevates those in the Body of Christ who seem to have lesser gifts. Here’s what he says. “So, God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity” (1 Corinth 12). What he was saying that while God’s twelve-pointer might gain more attention, His eight gets his picture blown-up, put-on canvas, and displayed in ways like no other. No matter who you are or what position you have, you matter to God and are an extremely important part of His eternal plans.
Make sure to get my new book, full of these articles. Outdoor Truths Volume Four.
I’m always excited about the times I get to go on an extended hunting or fishing trip. The expectations are always high and the opportunity to go with a friend makes the miles pass quickly and the laughs come in abundance. I just returned from my final deer hunting trip of the year. Each day of this four-day hunt offered its own challenges, and hours in the tree stand made nights in a warm bed even more comfortable. We fought cold and windy days along with discovering we were too early for the rut. By the last day my mind was drifting toward home. I was tired of fighting the elements, tired of battling my bodies urge to stay in bed, and tired of being away from family. I wanted to go home. As I reflected on my desire to leave, I was reminded of a lesson I had learned earlier in life – one that helped me understand more about death and dying.
Over the years I have stood at the bedside of many of the elderly who were sick and dying. Many of them were battling all sorts of illness or disease. Instead of continuing to fight, their desire was simple. They wanted to go home. Not to their brick-and-mortar earthly dwelling but to their heavenly home. As a young man I never understood why anyone would trade life for death. As an older man, I do. It was not that these men and women wished to cease to live but it was that they wished to live in a better place; one that promised a new body and where most of their loved ones were waiting. It was sort of like my hunting trip. It was not that I did not love to deer hunt but when it came right down to it what I really loved more than anything was at home. And not only could I be with the ones I loved, but I could also do it without facing the battles I was looking at right now.
You may have an elderly loved one who is fighting a battle of sickness. You may think they have lost their desire to live. For a Christian that is far from the truth. They have not lost their desire to live, only their desire to do it here. Remember, God always heals. Sometimes He does it here and sometimes He does it in Heaven.