Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God”
Although I’ve never been much of a hunter, I never miss an opportunity to go on a hunting trip. The fresh air, quiet, and talk time with friends, combine to make hunting trips great opportunities to get away from the daily noise and business. Occasionally I even learn something along the way.
The first time I went dove hunting was with John Overall. We took both a 10 gauge and a 20 gauge shotgun (I got the 20 gauge as it shoots a wider pattern of pellets), two lawn chairs, and an ice chest. We located a comfortable spot and sat in the shade of a Texas mesquite at sundown. Our view was picture perfect, complete with wildflower, prickly pear cactus, mesquite trees, rocks, and an open view of Texas Hill Country. Dove, on the other hand, were few and far between. The first two that flew by were gone before I could set my soda can down. The next one I missed seeing because I was in the middle of a good story that I was sure John needed to hear. Finally, I was both still and quiet at the same time as a single dove flew just over the trees to my right. I stood, aimed, and fired. Leaves fell to the ground. I quickly adjusted my aim and fired again. I must have hit a cloud. Then John squeezed off a round and the then-distant dove halted his flight pattern in mid-air and fell to the ground. “Good shot”, I said, “but there’s no way you’ll ever find him.”
“No problem,” responded John, and he walked around trees, over roads and through cactus patches right to where the fallen bird had landed. I was noticeably impressed. “It’s easy,” he assured me. “When you see the bird fall, you pick out a landmark in the background and walk toward it. With the landmark in sight you can go around the briars or mesquite without getting disoriented or losing your bearing.” And, while shooting mostly the breeze and soda cans, I did eventually drop a few dove and learned that the landmark theory really worked.
Although it has now been several years since John and I have hunted, I’ll long remember the lesson I learned on our first trip. It is a lesson that is relevant to so much of life. Often in our business, and in our hurried rush to be important, acquire another something new, or squeeze in a little more rushed pleasure, we lose our orientation. Life, too, has its briar patches and its jagged rocks, and often we’re so busy watching them we lose sight of where we’re going. We face the same temptations that Jesus faced (Luke 4) in the wilderness, the temptations to dedicate our lives to acquiring power, pleasure or prestige. It is to these disorienting tendencies that our faith speaks…God is the landmark that gives our lives direction. So like the Apostle Paul, we too must “press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God.”
Scripture: Philippians 3:14
Prayer: “It’s so easy to lose our way in this world, Lord. Let me always look to you for any direction.”