I Timothy 4:8 (NKJV) For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come.
Last week, I received the news that my best friend and I have successfully drawn a coveted mule deer tag in the high alpine basins of Colorado. To say I’m ecstatic, is an understatement. He and I have contemplated, planned and dreamed about this opportunity for the last 3 years. Now it’s a reality, really a… REALITY!
The unit we are hunting is on the divide, in designated wilderness and predominantly above treeline. For anyone wondering what that means, it means a long backpack in and 10 days looking for deer in treeless alpine basins at altitudes of 11,000 to nearly 14000 feet. Needless to say, it will be a physically and mentally demanding experience. I go out west every year and stay in fairly descent shape year round, ramping up my fitness regimen through the summer in preparation. However, an endeavor of this magnitude will require a fundamental shift in my regimen. I have begun ramping that up, and hope that I can discipline myself to its execution.
I’m training my body to accomplish a feat of endurance, stamina and strength that is outside the norm of most people’s capacity. My dedication to and thoroughness of my training will have a tremendous impact on whether we are successful in this pursuit. I train my body to fill a tag, to experience something that I love to do in a place I love to go. However, it’s temporal, fleeting. Sure, we’ll create memories that I’m sure will stay with me all my life, but, as the verse above says, ‘profits a little.’
Isn’t that interesting. I am covetous about my hunting and adventures. At times it greatly distracts me from my family, my work, my friends and yes my God. I don’t mean for it to, but it does. I’m training my body and mind in a way that has potential to take me from the thing that matters most, for an endeavor that matters little. Hunting, at times becomes very much an idol to me. What’s yours… work, money, your home, sports, cars, motorcycles, the opposite sex, yourself?
We all fall prey to it in one way or another. It’s a question of balance, knowing everything’s proper place, prioritizing and keeping it there. There is nothing inherently wrong with hunting, preparing my body for it, or the pursuit of it. Likewise, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of the things that I listed. The wrong is found within our own heart. What place does that thing or things hold in our heart. If it pulls an untold amount of your attention from your family, friends and, most importantly, God, it’s an idol, and…idols are bad. Don’t believe me, read through the Old Testament.
I love to hunt. I don’t particularly enjoy going through the necessities of getting fit for it, but I do enjoy knowing that every weight I throw, mile I bike and arrow I send, moves me that much closer to earning my prize. Some people might say that it defines me as a person. “Scott, he’s a bowhunter, eats, drinks and dreams bowhunting. You wanna know Scott, read a hunting magazine. It’s all in there.” That’s certainly not true, but if anyone thinks that of me at any time, I need to evaluate what I’m doing, what my priorities are and make sure my life and identity is in balance.
So, get out there, do what you love, love what you do, run hard, chase your goals, train and better yourself in and for your endeavors. However, remember to keep it in balance and make sure your pursuit of Jesus Christ comes first, fully and with an exuberance, discipline and determination exceeding the worldly ones. Have a blessed weekend.