The Wily Game Warden

Story of the Day for Wednesday January 4, 2012

The Wily Game Warden

                 The sound of a rustling leaf will cause them to run, and even when no one is chasing them they will flee as though from a sword . . . They will stumble even though no one is pursuing them. 

                                                                                  Leviticus 26:36-37

 Before we lived in Montana, we would drive out west on vacation to my in-laws ranch. After a weary 1200 miles, we observed the happy little ritual of stopping at the last town to buy our fishing licenses. We always bought an annual out-of-state license – expensive, but worth it to enjoy heaping plates of fresh brook trout.

One year, we tumbled into town so late that all the stores were closed. We drove up to my wife’s parent’s ranch and walked through the trees to their house by moonlight.

Buckhorn Ranch is the last ranch up the mountain, and so you don’t drive into town every time you need one item. We discussed driving into town later that day, and then we would be able to buy our fishing licenses. But my wife and I were so anxious to catch some fish, and because we knew in our hearts that we were going to buy our fishing licenses later that day, we didn’t see any harm in re-honing our technique on the creek.

Pinkham Creek is a fairly remote, heavily wooded mountain valley. That is one reason we were totally unprepared for what happened next.

“Do you hear something?” my wife asked.

“Yeah.” It sounded liked an old John Deere tractor with a fouled spark plug.

And then we saw it. It was a helicopter flying low right up the creek bottom. This was not a small, commercial sight-seeing helicopter, but a big, olive-green military chopper.

“Hide!” I shouted to my wife. We darted behind some trees as the chopper roared over our heads. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I thought a Montana game warden had come up with an ingenious way to catch people who were fishing without a license.

We scooted back to the house and I asked my mother-in-law about it. She said the area was so remote some found it a safe place to grow marijuana. The military was combing the area because they have special equipment to spot marijuana plots.

 

As I reflected on it later, I realized how silly my fears were. What? Would the game warden really hire out a military aircraft to patrol remote mountain streams on the unlikely chance he might spot a fisherman?

I imagined him spotting us, ordering the pilot to hover in place while he scrambled down a rope ladder. With a couple of soldiers pointing machine guns at us to prevent us from fleeing, he would stride up to us in his sunglasses, and say, “Good morning. Nice day for fishing. May I see your licenses please?”

As I say, the whole notion is ludicrous. But, when you have a guilty conscience, fear balloons out of proportion to reality, and makes you think stupid.

 

If you’ve already blown it, Jesus can cleanse your conscience, (although helicopters may make you nervous for years afterward.) But, if you’re still considering your options, buying a fishing license first is definitely the way to go.

                                    (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

A Far Better Story Line

Story of the Day for Tuesday January 3, 2012

A Far Better Story Line

                 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich . . . When you so much as glance at riches, they are gone. You can be assured they will sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle. 

                                                                  Proverbs 23:4-5

 Six-year-old Kristyn was enjoying a special time with her grandma. Her parents were spending a few days out of town, so grandma agreed to babysit.

While her parents were gone, Kristyn lost a tooth. And, as we all know, the tooth fairy doesn’t go off-duty just because a child’s parents are away. That night, Kristyn put her tooth under her pillow. The next morning she could hardly believe what she saw.

“Grandma!” she shouted, as she raced downstairs, “the tooth fairy came last night and gave me A HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL!”

Grandma gasped, “No! The, uh – the tooth fairy made a mistake. She meant to give you a dollar.” Grandma snatched the hundred dollar bill, fished around in her purse, and handed Kristyn a buck.

Kristyn was appalled! Her own grandma just stole her money! To a six-year-old, the transaction between a tooth fairy and her clients is a private one, and grownups have no right to broker the deal and horn in on the profits.

When Kristyn’s parents phoned that evening, their distraught daughter launched into a passionate recitation of the robbery.

A few days later, Kristyn got a letter from the tooth fairy. (Even though the tooth fairy’s penmanship eerily resembled Kristyn’s mother’s handwriting, grandma kept her opinions to herself.) The tooth fairy apologized for mistakenly slipping the wrong bill under her pillow and thanked Kristyn for her understanding. And then, in her abundant generosity, the tooth fairy lavished Kristyn with a ten dollar bill.

 

From the time we are young, we learn that our fortunes can slip away as quickly as they’re acquired.  Money has wings, and when it wants to soar like an eagle and disappear over the horizon, you’re not going to stop it.

And, while there’s nothing wrong with money, we must be careful not to make it the focal point of our lives. Or, as Donald Miller puts it in his book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, we should not make money the main theme of the story we’re living out.

Imagine, he says, watching a movie about a man whose highest desire is to own an expensive sports car. Throughout the movie, the hero pursues his dream, and at the end of the movie, buys a Volvo.

Would you cry because you found it so moving? No, you’d feel like you’d been cheated. What kind of a movie is that? What a dumb theme for a story.

Miller gets personal. He wants to know if that’s the kind of story we’re telling with our lives. If it is, Don Miller suggests there’s a far better story-line out there . . . and God is urging you to live it.

                                                                 (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)


Close Every Gate Through Which You Pass

Story of the Day for Monday January 1, 2012

Close Every Gate Through Which You Pass

               “I will forgive their iniquity and will remember their sins no more.” 

                                                            Jeremiah 31:34

 A London journalist had the special opportunity to go for a walk with the former prime minister of Great Britain, Mr. David Lloyd George.  As they walked through fields where cattle were grazing, the journalist became so eager to record every word of Mr. Lloyd George that he left a gate open.  When Mr. Lloyd George noticed it, he walked back and closed the gate.

As they continued their walk, Mr. Lloyd George reminisced about an old doctor who passed away.  “When he lay dying,” he said, “he called his sons and daughters to his bedside and urged them, as they went through life, to close every gate through which they passed.”  Mr. Lloyd George told the journalist that he benefitted greatly from that advice.

 

Just as the cattle in the field had no business straying through the gate into another field, so there are things in our past which should not wander with us into the next field.  We need to shut the gate behind us.

We have all gone through many painful times.  But we can continue to carry the guilt, the regret, the trauma, and the loss with us.  The past, however, is gone, and we need to move on.

Are you closing the gates behind you?  If not, the Lord wants to speak to you.  Do you know what the Almighty God sees when he looks upon your past?  Nothing.  He erased it.  “I will remember their sins no more.”

God doesn’t care where you’ve been; he cares about where you are now, and where you’re going.

 

Shutting the gate behind us means we can enter each field and make a new start.  That’s what “Easy Eddie” Eddie did.  He was a lawyer who worked for Al Capone.  Through this, and other mob activities, he became a wealthy man.

But “Easy Eddie” had a son, “Butch,” who wanted to enroll in the Naval Academy.  It was time to come clean for the sake of his son.  “Easy Eddie” informed to Frank Wilson, a federal investigator, and helped send Capone to Alcatraz.  “Easy Eddie” was later gunned down in west Chicago.

His son, Butch, became a flyboy and the first aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

You remember Butch O’Hare because the busiest airport in America has been named after him.  But you should also remember that he became what he did because his dad decided to close the gate behind him, and start a new day.

                                       (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)