Good Morning Brothers…
Turkey season is about a month away and trapping season has come to an end. It still feels like winter but my mind has shifted gears into spring activities. I’m starting to think about fishing a bit and my 9 year old boy is excited to start wetting a line. This time of the year is kind of a lull, or pause, between seasons. Craigslist is usually pretty hot with hunting gear from last fall. Every now and then, I find a reoccurring listing where the poor guy is selling everything. Instead of trying to pick up a few items, I feel sorry for him and wonder what happened. The question I want to ask is, “What has changed in your life to cause you to sell all of your hunting gear?”
I have met many people who get excited about hunting. They research equipment and weapons, ask good questions, and engage in conversations about strategy and tactics. They start the season with an enthusiasm which keeps them going for a time. After awhile, when the cold settles in, when the winds get more fierce, their time in the field gets less and less. They still have deer head stickers on their pick-up trucks and elk call ring tones on their phone, but their eyes haven’t seen the sun come up, or go down, in months. Typically, at this time of year, you can find their stuff on Craigslist. They have fallen away.
I have had the privilege to minister with many men who professed the word of truth. Who cried out to Jesus with arms extended and dug into Scripture…for a time. Watching them turn their backs from the path in front of them causes my heart to break. I don’t feel guilty, but I do feel responsible. More specifically, I feel responsible for not providing what was needed to keep the feet marching the narrow path. It would be easy to say something like, “All we do is plant the seeds, but God waters and causes growth” or “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Scripture seems to paint a different picture however. In Hebrews 6:1-2 it says, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.”
The passage implores the listeners to “press on to maturity”. This essentially means that we must grow in our knowledge of Christ. Every new stone we turn over we find another promise, another covenant, another example of unconditional love. The dots start to connect and suddenly our eyes start to see the forest and not just the tree. The passage goes on to list out the essentials of Christian faith:
- repentance leading to faith
- laying on of hands for the imputation of the Holy Spirit
- resurrection of the dead in the last days
- eternal judgement at the end of all things
These five truths are the foundation from which we (all Christians) build the house of God which is us. The passage calls these things “elementary teachings”. Which means we need to understand them and confirm them but we must not stay there spiritually. We must press on to a more mature understanding of who we are in Christ. This is where I feel a responsibility. I am engaged with a ministry that lights people up and causes a real hunger for more. I’ve seen crowds of people give their lives over to the Lord and lives and families radically changed. Once the glow of that encounter with the Lord has faded, for some, the world starts calling them back. Just like the hunter on Craigslist, it seems that once perseverance and effort are required, everything is for sale. I can’t help but think, that I have dropped the ball somewhere. These people are crying out for deeper stuff, to walk the narrow path bordered with the fruits of the Spirit on one side and God’s promises on the other and I don’t know how to provide that on a wide scale. I read the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:17-18, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ” and I weep with him.
“Lord in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name…we kneel before You as brothers come apart…we see the need by Your eyes…we hear the cries by Your ears…we work in the fields of white by Your hands…empower us to do more Father…strengthen us to labor longer Father…this is our watch, this is our time, this is the history of Your Church which depends on our willingness…may we be willing…may our love be contagious…may our joy infuse all…may our fruits bring life. By Your Holy Name, By Your Precious Blood, We Pray…AMEN”