The following series of devotionals are taken from Dr. Tim Miller’s book, Seasons of Reflection. You can find out more about Tim’s ministry and order the book by visiting www.disciplethenations.com.
I have always been fascinated with trophies. I guess it all started when I was a little boy playing peewee football and baseball. This Indiana Jones pursuit of treasure kept me busy throughout high school. Winning a trophy or plaque represented a crowning achievement. After graduating from high school there was no one to catch the touchdown pass. There was no one to keep score. Therefore, my complete focus became the competition between me and the quarry hunted.
I always enjoyed hunting more than athletics anyway. My frenzied behavior gave the greatest satisfaction – facing game on its turf where I had the disadvantage. It all became an extension of the competition I experienced in high school and quite predictably became an obsession. It is easy to justify obsessions because they completely dominate our thoughts. Every spare moment was occupied by hunting magazines and videos. During social events, I was always looking for my fellow hunters so we could strike up a conversation about hunting. My wife and I managed to navigate many – shall we say, “tense” – discussions concerning my love for hunting.
Years passed and children came on the scene demanding even more of my time. As my career advanced, more of my time was required. I tried to maintain my constant pursuit of animals as much as possible as hunting continued to be my first love when it came to recreation. Time passed and I managed to collect quite a few nice trophies.
Entering into my mid-thirties, I began to see life through a completely new set of lens.
One day I realized how many of us actually worship deer antlers, turkey beards, and large fish. We would not call it “worship” but that is exactly what it is as our desire to attain these things consume every free moment. Bone, feathers, and scales is what it boils down to. My life was being spent in pursuit of bone, feathers, and scales to the exclusion of all else. Human relationships, family vacations, and the needs of others in life, all took a backseat to my pursuit of the big three. I’m glad I finally came to myself and realized what was happening. I still-hunt a great deal, but not at the sacrifice of the things that are most important – namely my wife and children.
I schedule a family vacation during the kids’ spring break (which just happens to be during the peak period of turkey season!) and always check the family calendar before planning hunting trips. This keeps me from missing important kids events at school. Additionally, I am attempting to provide my wife as much money to spend on her hobbies as I spend on mine. This is only fair. No, I do not have as many days in the field as I did in the days before I grew up. Interestingly enough, I still bag as many turkeys and deer as I always did and my days afield are more enjoyable since I am not at odds with my wife. All in all, I am enjoying my outdoor experiences more now than ever before.
My kids are getting old enough to hunt and now my trophies are different than before. The real trophy is to see the look on the face of my kids when they kill their first deer or turkey. How wonderful it is to hear my son say, “Dad, can I get him mounted?” These are the trophies that last – unforgettable moments shared with children. Teaching the next generation about hunter ethics, the sport of the hunt, and the God who created it all are the trophies I now pursue. Don’t get my wrong, I am still a serious outdoorsman who loves to kill a nice buck, turkey, or catch a large bass. It’s just my life is more balanced than before. Balance in life is the key to ultimate enjoyment of the outdoor experience. I guess you could say my definition of trophy has changed.
Challenge: Do you pursue your love for the outdoors at the expense of all other relationships? Have you made a god out of selfish ambition and personal goals? Are you keeping your life balanced when it comes to recreation? How do you define the term trophy?
Thought: When you stand before God and lay your “trophies” at His feet, will your accomplishments in life only consist of bone, feathers, and scales?
“For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
Posted by Tim E. Miller