OUTDOOR TRUTHS: No Retirement in the Works
By Gary Miller
Jason and I eased up the hill toward the place of our morning hunt. He had come a few days earlier and took a leaf blower to the trail to make sure we had the quietest walk possible. Just over the crest of the hill, only about 400 yards from where we parked, was his hunting house. A house might be an exaggeration. It was only about 4x8 and was in need of a remodel since the year he first built it, but it was still a luxury for any hunter during the cold days of November.
As soon as we got situated we fired up the propane heater. With the shooting windows closed, it didn’t take long for our small enclosure to warm up to a comfortable temperature. We could then open our thermos and pour that extra cup of coffee that we are usually unable to have on mornings like these. Because of the insulated walls, we were also able to hold a regular conversation without the thoughts of being heard by any cruising deer.
After a few hours of glassing the field for a shooter buck, Jason decided it was time for breakfast. So, he proceeded to bring out his pre-prepared sausage biscuits along with a sheet of aluminum foil. The foil would be used as our cooking pan to warm the biscuits on the heater. After a few minutes in our make-shift oven, hot biscuits were served. And after that, heated honey buns for that annoying sweet tooth.
Now who would not want to hunt this way? The truth is, the older I get the more I look for opportunities just like these. In fact, I make them. I have discovered I really want to hunt more comfortably. And I want to leave all the heavy-lifting-hunting to the youngsters. After all, I’ve done my part.
While this way of thinking about hunting is fine with me, I fight this method when it comes to serving as a part of my Christian life. I constantly fight the desire to retire from Christian service, let the younger ones do it, and just live less committed to doing my part in the lives of others. It would be very easy to live a secluded Christian life – reading, praying, and even worshipping, and let the younger ones take the places I’ve held for these many years. Let them volunteer. Let them sacrifice. Let them deal with all the drama. I’ve done my part. I don’t need the headaches. I don’t have to put up with it.
But when I look at those thoughts, I find them slowing moving from others to me. I find myself wanting what I think I deserve instead of what others need and what I am called to do as a Christian. I find that I am tempted to forget I am to love God with all my heart and others as myself. “Lord, help me remember as I age, there is no retirement from serving you. While the areas I serve may change, the need for my service will not. Retirement is not offered in your benefit package.” Amen.
Gary Miller can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.