Father, son experience the joy of acting iwth integrity
February 3, 2004
My son, Mark, and I were in a deer stand together a couple of seasons ago and an interesting scenario played into our hands. I believe it was one of those significant moments that come every once-in-a-while which give you great opportunity to apply biblical character that has been taught in the classroom of a family’s home.
When I purchased my deer tags, I purchased a tag for a buck and a doe. I do this primarily because my schedule only permits me to hunt one or maybe two days of a season. As such, I have to be an “opportunist” hunter and take what the Lord brings my way rather than being selective and seeking only trophy animals. My then college student-son, Mark, had to purchase his own tag(s); which he did.
As we sat together on opening morning in a stand, he froze (he never wears enough clothes) and I again relished the one-on-one time talking with a son. As deer hunting goes, it can be long periods of boring sitting with moments of adrenalin rush when deer finally do appear.
All of a sudden a nice seven-point buck appears just over 200 yards away. I tried to defer to my son, because I wanted him to take it. But Mark said to me, “Dad, you shoot him, he is almost getting back into cover!” I shot and dropped him. We both rejoiced in our good fortune. Now, at least, we wouldn’t go home empty handed.
We chose to sit a while longer, thinking another opportunity for Mark might appear. Sure enough, in just minutes, one of the largest most beautiful 12-point bucks I have ever seen stepped out of the undergrowth only 150 yards away and was walking right toward us. We could both clearly see the enormity of this beautiful buck. I knew this shot was about to cost me an additional $300 in taxidermy work to get this buck mounted for my son.
Mark was so excited that he could hardly contain himself. This truly was a deer-of-a-lifetime and it just kept closing the distance toward us step by step. I told Mark to let him get to 50 yards or less before shooting. As the deer was about to step to our agreed upon mark, I asked my son, “You have a Buck tag don’t you?”
He looked away from the scope and down at his tag and said, “Oh No! I bought only one tag and it is for a doe!” I said, “Well, I can’t shoot him because the buck for my tag is lying out there on the ground already.” Can you imagine the moment we were living? The season is open, we have the cross-hairs on a buck-of-a-lifetime, the rifle’s safety is in the “fire” position and Mark is ready to squeeze the trigger. That’s when a moment of character testing and integrity presented itself.
It was Mark’s choice to make because it was his rifle trained on the deer.
I was so proud of him when he clicked his safety back “on” and then in a very quiet tone, keeping the cross hairs of his rifle on the deer, he said, “Pow! Pow! Pow!” The deer was so close now, about 30 yards, that it raised its head and twisted its ears trying to figure out where the “Pows!” were coming from. Finally, after being “shot” about 10 times, the buck slowly walked away from us and into cover again.
When we came out of our deer stand and shared the story, our landowner-benefactor said, “You should have gone ahead and shot him. I wouldn’t have minded and you could drive into town and buy a buck tag.”
I told him we REALLY appreciated his generous spirit, but I wasn’t in the woods to kill his deer as much as I was to grow a son. My son passed the test of integrity … again that morning! I couldn’t have been more proud of him.
Now, all my kids are grown and some have families of their own. They each live over a thousand miles from me. But, I do not worry about them because they have proven to me to be men and women of integrity. For that I am grateful to my Lord Jesus, who put that heart in them. Jesus will guide and protect them, because I have the promises of His Word:
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
He who walks in integrity walks securely,
How are you doing? Is there integrity in your Life? Finances? Family? Speech? It’s never too late to correct the past and walk with integrity in the days ahead. I believe every truly born-again believer desires to please Jesus and walk with Him.
Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood
And has not sworn deceitfully.