Today’s reading is drawn from Matthew 28:19.
A few years back, the creek down the hill from my house froze over solid. I’d never seen a phenomenon like that in all my years. The temperature dropped low enough to make a snowman shiver. I figured anyone with a lick of sense would stay inside like I was doing. That’s when I heard a banging sound outdoors. I bundled up and walked down to the mouth of the creek to see who or what was making all that racket. This was back in the day when I was able to let folks come and go on my property as they pleased, to launch a boat or whatnot.
When I walked to the riverbank, I spied an aluminum boat with two young bucks in there thrashing about. They were maybe fifteen, sixteen years old. One dude was hitting and breaking the ice with his wooden paddle. He’d cut a path about twenty feet out into the creek. “What are you boys fixin’ on doing?” I asked.
They looked up, startled to see me. The older boy, “Curly Don,” said to the other, “That’s him!”
You might say in this part of the country I’m a bit of a legendary figure. I’ve managed to win the respect of the locals, who’ve watched me work hard and grow the Duck Commander business. To some of the rednecks, however, I scare the daylights out of them. You have to remember: when they’re dealing with me, there’s always a Bible within arm’s reach. To a redneck, a Bible in the hand of an ex-drunk is scarier than a guy with an Uzi. They’re thinking, Don’t mess with that ol’ cat because he’s gonna start preachin’ to you and everything else around. They see me and my Bible and they start tearing up the road. But these dudes were clearly fans. After getting over their initial shock, they answered, “We’re gonna go duck huntin’ up the creek about a mile or so.”
“Without a motor?”
“Do you realize that even if you could bust the ice for a mile, it’d be refreezing right behind you?” They hadn’t thought of that and, of course, they didn’t have the proper clothes to keep warm. They were just a couple of rednecks with their shotguns.
I said, “Boys, you don’t want to try that. You’ll get tangled up out there and you’re likely to freeze to death. Get out of that boat; I’ll take you.”
After we shot a bunch of ducks, I invited them to swing by the house to talk whenever they had a chance. Curly Don took me up on that offer and got to hanging around to learn about God. He eventually gave his heart to Jesus and he’s been a member of our church for probably twenty or twenty-five years.
Here’s the deal. The Bible says we’re supposed to make disciples of all the nations, right? But that’s not just the work of missionaries in faraway places. Literally. When I ran up on those boys trying to break the ice, I could have run them off my property, or I could have ignored them and let them be. When I offered to take them duck hunting, I was thinking of their eternal souls. The hunting was just a way to make the first connection.