Next week a dear brother-in-Christ will load up his gear and drive over 1,000 miles and into a different time zone on what has become a yearly pilgrimage. On breezy 32° days he will rustle through grasses, cattail sloughs, dense weed patches, and along tree strips along the fields of South Dakota. In the past he has undertaken this crusade despite dipping temperatures, high winds, snow, rain, and with a variety of traveling companions.
What could compel him to schedule this yearly excursion? A simple 2 lb. bird. You see October 15 began the 2022 season where those like my friend hunt for that wily bird known as the Chinese Ring-necked Pheasant. Even listening to him talk about this relative ribeye-among-fowl flavor of this bird puts a sparkle in his eyes. (No letters from PETA, please.) I can only say I’ve ever seen eyes sparkle that once before … in the animated eyes of Wile E. Coyote scheming to capture and eat the Road Runner on Saturday morning cartoons.
Guys like my brother-in-Christ make me smile. He has a quick sense of humor but is anything but cartoonish. The coyote is cunning, devious and constantly hungry - my friend is Biblically wise, savvy and his appetite is narrowly focused on grilled cheese, peanut butter fudge, Steak n Shake chili … and the occasional pheasant. You’d be pressed to discover a more generous man and student of God’s Word. You see, when it comes to pheasant hunting my friend knows they are typically scattered or in small flocks. But as the cold of winter approaches? The birds will be pushed into heavy cover and concentrated. Although he wears correct lenses now I am confident, he will find them and return with his quarry.
When it comes to people my friend knows they too are typically scattered or in small flocks. He truly hears God’s voice in Ezekiel 34:6, “My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth…” He is aware that winter is approaching and people will be pushed into layers of insulation and concentrated sin. “‘Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the Lord, ‘to those who carry out plans that are not mine … heaping sin upon sin;’” (Isaiah 30:1) “I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am He, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24) My brother sees and flushes out souls that seek to conceal themselves from reality and “‘…say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ (Luke 23:30) Although he wears glasses now I am confident, under a South Dakota sky he will respond to the command: “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26) He will lift his eyes to look on fields of souls ripe for harvest and he will faithfully proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God … and he will return with his quarry.
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life;
and he that wins souls is wise.”
Happy Hunting My Friend …