Oct 27 2014

Verse for the Day: Joshua 1:8 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

Well another successful hunting season in Colorado has come and gone. For only the second time over the last 30 years I had two of my kids hunting with me at the same time and the first time my daughter Melanie joined me to hunt off of horseback in Colorado. We had a total of six people in camp this year, two females - my daughter, a friend and his daughter who was only 15 years old, my son Nathan and my brother in-law. It takes us about 2 hours on horseback to get into our camp and each morning started around 4:30 am as we got up to fix breakfast, feed and saddle horses and prepare for the day.

You might be asking just how successful was the hunt? Well for only the 2nd time over the last 30 years we came home without an elk to put in the freezer. And for the first time ever while hunting in Colorado I didn’t even see one elk during the 5 day hunt. So, how can I say we had a successful hunt when we didn’t kill one elk and to top that off 4 of the six people didn’t even see an elk?

It’s all because my definition of success changed several years ago. I use to think that a hunt’s success was based on how many elk were killed- the more elk you brought home to put in the freezer the more successful the hunt. And over the past 30 years of hunting in Colorado you can count on one hand the number of times I didn’t bring home an elk and for only the 2nd time in all those years that at least one person didn’t fill their tag. So what changed my definition of success?

Well my definition of a successful elk hunt took a dramatic change while hunting with both of my son’s and others during the 2011 elk hunt, when I had a horse fall over backwards on top of me on the second day of the hunt leaving me with 7 broken ribs, a right pelvis fractured in three places, bruised lung and a body that was bruised from head to foot. (You can read more about that experience in a couple of devotions I wrote entitled “A day I will never forget” and “Bad day on the mountain” dated 10/25/13 and 10/30/13 on the church web-site). You see I now believe a successful hunt, especially when riding horse, is any hunt in which you can enjoy time with family and friends and come home with no one hurt, no broken bones, no body parts missing and no major injuries. Only a few sore muscles, minor bruises, small cuts or scrapes to remind you of your hunt.   

Life has a way of changing our definition success. The older I have gotten and the closer I walk with my Lord Jesus Christ the more He has allowed me to see and understand what true success in Him looks like. 

Most people would never consider a hunt in which you bring nothing home as a successful hunt or think having a horse fall over on top of you as a victory. But for me as I look back on my years of hunting and see how God’s hand of protection was on and around me all the time,  I have come to realize that true success comes in the form of a Person and that Person is Jesus Christ and what He did for me upon the Cross. It’s not about stuff, filling a tag, having the most toys, biggest home or anything else. Success comes in knowing the Lord and knowing that your family and friends will be joining you in Heaven. 

Ecclesiastes 9 : 10-18 10 Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom. 11  …. I   have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. ….. 12 People can never predict when hard times might come.…. 16 So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long. 17 Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king. 18 Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good. 

So what is your definition of success? Do you need to re-establish or rewrite what your definition of success looks like?  What are you doing to ensure that you and your loved ones know what true success really is?