By Gary Miller
Many hunters right now have moved from the tree stand to the duck blind. The mornings of solitude and scent elimination have been replaced with the companionship of friends and the smell of sausage on a propane stove. The quietness has been traded for the sounds that let a duck know other ducks are around. And there is man’s best friend; a four-legged follower who is the object of affection and encouragement for everyone there. I can see why duck hunting is special and I’m glad that much of the country has some type of waterfowl hunting.
When I think about the differences in deer hunting and duck hunting my mind goes to two different personalities or two different moods. Sometimes I want to be alone and sometimes I need to be around others. Sometimes I need to be quiet and thoughtful and other times I need to be interacting. Sometimes it is all about me and other times it is about someone else. The truth is, I need both.
Many outdoorsmen are quick to claim the outdoors as their church. They reveal that nature is their place of worship – that they love being alone with God at those times and in those places. Many however, have replaced a weekly gathering of believers with this time outside. They are right in their ability to worship God in nature but they have missed the point of gathering together with others. Our gathering has more to do with others than it does ourselves.
Here’s how the writer of Hebrews put it; “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” (Heb 10:24-25 NLT) Do you see it? Our gathering is to motivate and to encourage others; something we cannot do alone. You may say you only prefer being by yourself and I cannot argue with your desire but I can expose your selfishness. You see, my friend, there are some people in your life right now who are going through tough times and they need your encouraging words. They need to see your dependence upon God. They need to see the place that He holds in your life. They need to hear you say that “God will see you through.” Those words will motivate them to continue the fight until the storm passes over. That is why we gather at church each Sunday – to be an encouragement to others. When we gripe about the seats or the sermon, the clothes or the clock, we have succumbed to the very thing that Satan was kicked out of heaven for………. thinking it was all about him.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org