Guest Blog by Wes Stinson of Fall Line Ridge YouTube Channel.           

There is an old classic story of the church that goes something like this: A pastor walked up the steps to an old house to visit with a church member on a cold winter day. As the two men sat around the fire and drank coffee, the pastor revealed his purpose for the visit. “I wanted to visit you because we miss you. You haven’t been to church in a while, and I’m worried about you.” The man replied, “Preacher, I just

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don’t see the need to go to church. I read my Bible and pray. I’ve got a little spot by the creek where I just sit and think about God every now and then. I’m doing ok.” As the men sat by the warm flames, the pastor slowly leaned towards the fire and picked up the poker. Finding a glowing coal at the edge of the fire, he pushed it a few inches away from the fire. The two men watched for a few minutes as the coal slowly died out and turned a bleak, cold, dark gray. The pastor again took the poker and inched it back into the fire. It quickly kindled back to its former glory, glowing red hot. The man, still staring at the coal, said, “Preacher, I’ll be at church on Sunday.”

Last year was the first year I really got serious about game management on our property. In previous years I set out corn slingers (legal here) and mineral licks, but that was about it. In 2019 and 2020, two friends expressed interest in hunting our land. Somehow, this kicked me into high gear on land management. Perhaps pride was a factor. Either way, we began obsessing over soil Ph levels, nutrient uptake, different seeds for food plots, fertilizer, deer stand positioning, rut timing, and everything else. We began sharing costs for fertilizer, lime, and corn. We shared hunting equipment. We fought wasps together to position a stand in just the right tree, only to move the stand to another tree later in the season. My daughter even did a homeschool experiment on how different amounts of fertilizer affects food plot growth rate. Three friends were able to achieve much more than just one. The hunting experience for all of us was much higher quality as well. One got a good doe to feed his family, another killed two good bucks, and I harvested the largest buck (both body and antlers) of my life. A good time was had by all. It was all due to three people, united, striving toward a common goal.

The Bible teaches the same thing to the Christian. Hebrews 10:24-25 encourages believers to “[…] consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Notice how this passage exhorts the reader to really think. He writes “consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” In other words, really put some thought into it. And what are these good deeds that he talks about? Well, the answer to that question really goes back to who God is. God is love (1 John 4:8), God is good and truthful (Exodus 34:6), He is holy (1 Samuel 2:2), He is wise (Romans 11:33), He is sacrificial (Romans 5:8), He is just and compassionate (Isaiah 30:18), among many other attributes. There is no way to stimulate others to good deeds when we don’t understand what that goodness is. See, God is the ultimate standard of goodness. It is not that He possesses the capability of being good; He is good. Unfortunately, when we compare ourselves with that, we fall short. We have all lied, stolen, disobeyed parents, and run afoul of the goodness that God calls us to walk in. This runs us smack dab into God’s justice. Now, this is where God’s sacrificial nature comes in. Romans 5:8 tells us this: “But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” What hope! During His life, Jesus Christ achieved the goodness that God commands us to live. On the cross, He took the wrath of God that was waiting for me because I could not achieve the goodness that God commands. Peter calls us to respond to this truth in Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Responding to the gospel positions us to help one another in life, to stimulate one another to good works, and to bear one another’s burdens. 

I’ll be the first to admit that comparing successful land maintenance with eternal redemption is a weak analogy, but here goes. In land maintenance there are disappointments like weeds, food plot failures, droughts, snakes, wasps, and all manner of challenges. Such is life. In life there are toils, traps, temptations, spiritual droughts, death, and all manner of challenges the world may throw at us. In both cases, a group of like minded individuals united toward a common goal will have a much easier time. So, consider today how to stimulate one another to good works. Bear one another burdens, because this fulfills the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).  

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