Good Morning Brothers…
Many of you know that I spent some time in Rome recently. While I did not travel to Italy to hunt wild game, I did travel there to hunt history. Suffice to say, much of what I experienced gets more overwhelming the more I think about it. The ping-pong balls in my brain are bouncing all over and I’ll need at least 10 treestand sits to download and process all of it. One of the things that is immediately clear to me, upon returning, is that I do not like crowds. I did enjoy listening to our tour guides try to explain things and answer questions in English, instead of their native tongue.
“This is village is known for good food and many wine.”
“We will stop here so you can make pictures.”
“You can get in boat and go hunt fish on this lake.”
So truth be told, I did enjoy a glass of wine and I ‘make pictures’ but I did not get an opportunity to ‘hunt fish’. Although I did wonder if a sky blue camouflage was required to hunt fish. What I didn’t know is that October is ‘tourist season’ in Rome. There were people everywhere…I mean everywhere. My wife was with me and that natural inclination to protect was kicking in. Many of the places we went were accessed by public transportation. Our Villa was about 40 miles from Rome and we would hike a couple miles uphill and down the other side to arrive at the train station. The train would take us into the ‘Roma Termini’ where we would exit the train and hop aboard the subterranean ‘Metro’ (a subway). The Metro was packed with people and the pick pockets were aboard every car. Due diligence was needed to insure every zipper was zipped on our backpacks and our wallets were secure in pockets without easy access. From the Metro stations we would board buses to travel the streets of Rome toward our intended destinations. At times, we couldn’t even get on the bus because they were so full. It was mayhem. We walked a lot.
Now…you guys know me. I love the solitude of the woods. I love the back country even though it is filled with dangerous predators because I can easily identify them. I can see and recognize the signs of predators in the area and take precautions to prepare myself for a confrontation or vacate the area. In the busy crowds of Rome, I couldn’t tell who the predators were. They came cloaked in many different disguises. In the woods, my relationship with the predators is clear. I need to leave them be, or I need to put them down. It is a relationship purely based on the physical. In Rome, or in the busy streets of our life, our relationship with the predators is both physical and spiritual. In John 13:35, Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another”
We will be known because of our love for each other, our love for the lost souls of the world, and our love for the predators. This puts us in a place of protecting physically and reaching out spiritually. I can’t speak for you, but I cannot do this without God pulling the strings. I cannot resist my fleshly urge to fight to protect what has been entrusted to me. To extend the olive branch while fighting to protect seems like a oxymoron to say the least. I struggle with this. I am uncomfortable with protecting with one arm and reaching out with the other. When I seek the example of my Lord, I realize He reached out with both arms. He did not fight to protect the physical at all, but embraced it to serve the spiritual.
Wow…I am only left with the words of my tour guide.
We need ‘many wine’ (the blood of Jesus that washes away all sin)…to ‘make pictures’ (the message of truth communicated through a life lived in service to the King)…to ‘hunt fish’ (to actively seek out those in need of saving grace).
“Lord Jesus Christ, I come before You as a man who wants to serve. As a man who wants to see the Church unified as One. As a man desperate for a faith strong enough to embrace the world with both arms extended.”