Deer Camp Devotion
We had just turned off the blacktop onto the old dirt road, now a muddy path, leading to our hunting camp in Greene County about an hour and forty-five minutes from home. The rain had saturated the ground for the past two days making solid traction something that was hard to come by, but the deer wouldn’t care about the weather or the mud so we figured we shouldn’t either.
Besides all of that, there’s something satisfying for a man at an instinctual level about navigating a seemingly impassible trail with four-wheel drive and some knobby tires. As we slid from one side of the road to the other and bounced through one rut and puddle after another, my twelve-year-old son, Jack, looked over at me and asked a question that commanded my attention. “Daddy, what if I kill a bigger buck than the biggest one you’ve ever killed?”
The moment his words touched my ears, I knew in my heart that this was a teachable moment. Fathers and sons look at matters like this is very different ways due to the perspective that comes from being a parent. Jack is at a point in his life where he’s starting to test the waters. Behind him, all that he’s really known up until now is being a little boy.
Read: The Long Journey
But just across the creek, all he can see are the endless possibilities that come with being a young man. There’s a part of him that wants to be like me, and there’s another part that wants to be superior to me in every way that he possibly can. What he doesn’t fully understand yet, is that I have an earnest desire to nurture the latter part until he truly surpasses me in every conceivable fashion.
My reply to his query was simple and direct, “Son I hope you do harvest a bigger buck than I ever have. In fact, nothing would make me happier than to see you surpass my accomplishments in hunting and every other aspect of life.”
I believe it should be the godly desire of every parent to want their children to excel beyond the boundaries and limitations of the previous generation. Jack probably won’t fully understand it until he has a child of his own, but he has a dad that’s doing everything he can to ensure that he does more than I ever could. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.
It is not my intention to make life easy for my son, and I am certainly not going to do any of the work for him that he is able to do for himself. What I endeavor to do is a guide, prepare, and equip my children in a way that’s conducive to them reaching their full God-given potential . . . whatever that turns out to be.
By the way, this is a biblical concept. In I Kings 2:2 (KJV) King David said,
“I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man.”
David’s final instructions to his son, Solomon, were the expression of a father’s desire for his children to do well in life. In David’s case, he wanted Solomon to be a better king and accomplish more than he ever did during his tumultuous reign . . . specifically, regarding the building of the house of God.
In fact, David wanted it so much that after God told him that he would never be allowed to complete the building of the Temple, David put all of his efforts into making preparations for his son, Solomon, to accomplish something King David knew he could never do himself. Such a desire for our children to do more and be more than we ever were is apparently the desire of a father or mother after God’s own heart.
It’s no wonder that King Solomon ended up penning the words of Proverbs 22:6 (KJV),
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Solomon ended up being the wisest and wealthiest king that Israel ever had, and God’s people enjoyed a time of unparalleled peace and prosperity during his reign.
Tried and true principles that led to much of the success in the life of King Solomon can still be effective today. There’s an obvious application for fathers and children, but the versatility of the pattern we find exemplified in David passing the baton of kingship to Solomon is vast.
Christian men can do so much more for the benefit of future generations than just preparing their paternal children for success. We can be coaches, teachers, pastors, mentors, and friends to a generation of young people who are desperately seeking guidance.
Little boys and little girls grow up to be young men and young women, and they need to be able to witness firsthand some godly examples of what a Christian man is supposed to be. Let us rise to the challenge and help them to excel in every possible way!
God, I desire to be the man that you have called me to be, and I want to fulfill the purpose that you have placed upon my life. I need your guidance as I endeavor to raise the children you have entrusted me with, and to be a living example of godly virtue and character to the others who are influenced by my words and deeds.
Help me to faithfully follow you day by day, so that those who follow me will be able to go further in this life than I ever will. Most of all, I pray that my life will point those around me to life eternal through the Gospel. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Josh attended seminary through Rock of Ages Baptist Bible Institute out of Cleveland, TN. He has held about every position one could hold in a local church: Sunday school teacher, Children’s Church Preacher, Bus Ministry Director/Worker, Missions Director, Choir Director, Song Leader, Janitor, etc. In October of 2005, he was ordained as an Assistant Pastor at Rest Haven Baptist Church, and that’s where he served until God called him into the Pastorate at Enon Baptist Church in Alto, GA at the age of 32. He stepped out by faith in obedience to God’s instructions and quickly received a call from Blessed Hope Baptist Church in Free Home, GA where he now serves as Pastor. In his free time, Josh enjoys spending quality time with his wife (who is his high school sweetheart) and three children: Zoey, Ava, and Jack, as well as reading, writing, hunting, cooking, weight lifting, and martial arts.