We are entering into the rut this coming week and there are many of us that have already spent a great deal of time in pursuit of these beautiful animals. The pursuit of whitetail deer could be a lifetime movie with all of the emotional highs and lows. We have all experienced the moment our infamous buck has crested the hill, entered the field or crossed the creek. Our hearts race and our adrenaline starts to thrive. Suddenly, a doe we were not watching winds us, and with a huff both deer are off to the races returning to the overgrowth from where they came. The disappointment is almost unbearable.
Worse even still is the moment that buck comes into range, we draw back, and he pauses broadside for just a moment. We breathe deeply and let our arrow fly, he reacts almost at the very moment we released. The arrow has missed its mark and we find ourselves falling from the emotional and physical high we were on to a very low place of self-criticism, doubt, and disappointment.
These are just a few examples of some of the missed opportunities we experience as hunters. I begin to wonder how as Christians we respond to a missed opportunity.
We see a man outside of McDonald’s and we rush our children by, trying to avoid eye contact. A mother cries as she tries to console her child in a store and we become annoyed and frustrated, we judge her and begin to wonder why she cannot simply quiet the child. We go to work and we see a co-worker or a friend and they are not themselves, they become easily agitated and snap at us. We blow them off and vow to steer clear the rest of the day. Each one of these scenarios we walk away from without disappointment, without any true internal response to the situation.
What we didn’t know is the man outside McDonald’s has just spent the change he had been collecting as he walked around the city to stay warm. When he would find change along the sidewalk he would put it in his pocket, and this is the product of a week’s worth of change that he had saved. He is not homeless, but he does not have a washer and dryer to wash his clothes, and he has not had food or soap in his home. He isn’t sure how much longer he can continue to survive like this.
The woman’s car just broke down in the parking lot. She waited for an hour for a friend to come to her rescue, at which time she found out her radiator was blown and that without replacing it she will be unable to drive it. She spent her grocery money to call a tow truck and have it taken to her house. Her child has been hungry since before they left the house, and has had to sit with her through this entire ordeal. In her cart were a meager box of diapers, a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, a jar of formula and some peanut butter. She gets paid tomorrow and doesn’t truly need anyone’s charity, but she feels invisible to everyone, and is heartbroken for the child she is trying so hard to take care of. She just needed a moment of peace, maybe a hug to calm her nerves and reassure her.
Our co-worker came into work today like any other day; although, he had fought with his wife the night before. They disagreed about how to handle a situation with their daughter. Words were exchanged and while not all of them were intentional they were hurtful. His sleep was broken as he wrestles with the words his wife said the entire night. Everything to do with work feels pointless, and mind numbing. He didn’t mean to snap at us; what he really needed is someone to talk to so that he can organize his thoughts and help him to refocus.
Each of these scenarios were missed opportunities, yet when we compare them to our missed shot or unsuccessful hunts we can see that our emotional response is as different as night and day. We have struggled and beat ourselves up about the unsuccessful hunt, yet we have not thought once about the people we have judged, misunderstood, and altogether tried to avoid.
Missed opportunities are a part of life, no person is perfect and has the ability to address each scenario appropriately every time. No different than how no matter how skilled a hunter a person is, there will always be situations that are unpredictable, or unavoidable. While this remains true we enter into the woods each time trying our best, and learning from our mistakes. We work hard to ensure opportunities do not simply pass us by.
As Christians Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Jesus loves each and every person, and made it a point to share in little moments with people that changed their lives. Are we willing to take advantage of the opportunities we have been given to be the hands and feet of Christ this holiday season? We need to be sure when we go through our day we are aware of the opportunities God has given to us; while remembering it is not always to preach and teach. Sometimes it’s to simply love or listen to someone who God sent to cross our path.
Life is a lot like hunting; it is important take advantage of each opportunity your given. Like hunting opportunities sometimes need to be CREATED. The deer of a lifetime is something that you trained for, you fought for, you tracked, you spent countless hours watching… waiting. You made sure you were ready for the opportunity when it arrived. Keep in mind that life is like hunting… You never know if you will ever get a second shot, a second opportunity; be ready and make each shot count.
The Created Outdoors team is here for you if you have questions about who Jesus is; if you have prayer requests or if you would just like to talk. Our team would love to hear from you and we are grateful for the chance we have had to spend some time with you.
Please remember that no matter where you are in your life, and regardless of anything that is or that was; Jesus Loves You! He always has, and always will.
God Bless You!