Snipe Hunting by Pastor Jim Moon III

When I was younger my older uncles would dupe me into going on a snipe hunt. I must admit that the fresh night air was great, but being out in the dark was a little unnerving. Every once in awhile one of my uncles would enthusiastically say, “Oh, there one is. Did you see it?” Of course, I didn’t see them, and after a few such outings I realized that either snipes aren’t real or that they are too elusive to be found, so I gave up the search. When we, as Christians, go around labeling people, places, and things as holy that turn out to be anything but holy, it is just like saying, “Oh, did you see that? There it is! Oh, you barely missed that one!?!” People finally realize that either what we are saying isn’t real or it’s too elusive to be found. We are living in a time when the efficacy of the Gospel is at stake. The Gospel’s ability to produce the desired result is like a plate wobbling on top of a broomstick. People who have yet to know Christ have lost the ability to differentiate what it means to be Christian from the lives of the Christian men and women around them. 

At times I have voted Republican and at times I have voted Democrat, for my alignment is to Christ above all else; and I vote with my conscience. My concern is that my evangelical brothers and sisters have made an error in judgment based upon great intentions. Many endorsed our current president as an evangelical Christian person. To judge whether Donald Trump is a Christian or not, is not my place. I can reasonably assert that our president has had a difficult time espousing Christian morals and values in the way he has related to people.  According to the statistics, “in the 2016 presidential election Donald Trump won 81% of the evangelical Christian vote.” Donald Trump can credit his victory to the overwhelming turn out and support of the evangelical Christians.  My close friends have said that they were forced to vote between the lesser of two evils, and that it is highly important to protect our freedom of religious conscience and the right to life. I actually agree with them in principle but what has it cost our witness to align ourselves with a president that is pro-religion but not religious?  Being pro-religion is different than being religious.   

When we say, “Donald Trump is accomplishing parts of our evangelical agenda,” people are looking to him as an example of what it means to be a Christ follower, and what do they see? I’ve been mulling this over in my own quiet times, and I pray that you will do so as well. 

The other day one of our 6th grade athletes on the River Valley Track Team ran a 59.4-second, 400-meter dash. Coach Hasselbring and I were amazed at how well he ran the race. He was racing one of the fastest 8th graders in Clark and Floyd County. For some reason this 8th grade young man, as he rounded the last 200-meters, pointed at our 6th grade runner in a taunting/show-boating type of way. Needless to say, seeing this kind of unsportsmanlike behavior left a bad taste in my mouth; and even though the 8th grader won the race, something of the excitement was sucked out of the venue by his actions. For the way we accomplish something is just as important as what we accomplish. 

In Genesis 15:4-5 God makes a covenant with Abram, {4} Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir.” {5} He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” God promises Abram that his offspring will outnumber the stars in the sky. As Abram and Sarai grew old, they became concerned because there was not a rightful heir to their household. So Sarai devised a plan to have Abram sleep with her slave Hagar to produce an heir for their family. Abram agrees and Ishmael is born (Genesis 16). In Genesis 17 God makes a covenant with Abram and changes Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah. God also tells Abraham that he will have a child even in his old age, and Abraham laughs at God. God’s response to the laughter of Abraham and Sarah can be found in Genesis 18:14, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”  A short time later Sarah conceives Isaac. 

Abraham attempted to take matters into his own hands to produce an heir for his household when all the while God had a plan in place. Abraham wanted things done in his time and in his way, but what he needed to do was trust in God. We are living in uncertain times and it can be easy for us to want something so bad that we take matters into our own hands, or use whatever means necessary, to accomplish them. We must trust in God and in God’s timing, for if we don’t we may accomplish a few small things “for the cause” but in the end compromise the things that are most dear to us. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to us that we will eventually be forced to do something that is against our religious consciences. At the rate society is going persecution will no longer take subtle forms. But we should not align ourselves with anyone that will forcefully take our rights back while at the same time ruin our witness. 

My prayer for us can be found in I Peter 4:12-16, 19, {12} Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. {13} But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. {14} If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. {15} If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. {16} However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.  {19} So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

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