My son loves hunting. In fact, I have come to believe that he loves hunting more than I love hunting, and that is saying quite a great deal. Even as a young boy, he would insist on wearing his camo pants and his camo shirt and even his snot covered camo fleece hood whenever at all possible. He would prefer that such items would not get washed, so that they could always be ready for whenever the need arose to disappear into the wilderness.
His young obsession with hunting would last deep into the late fall of every hunting season. Even after the Christmas tree had been set up, and most of my hunting equipment had been put away for the season, you could still find the boy dressed in his camo, hiding within the pine boughs of the Christmas tree armed with his suction cup bow and arrow waiting for his little sister to come by. When she did, he would launch his arrow at her and if he hit her, she would graciously play dead while he dragged her out of the living room by her arms. His excessive imaginative play would abruptly end when he began to speak of field dressing and his younger sister would hop up and bark, “Oh no! You are not field dressing me!”
Inevitably challenges arrive that limit hunting opportunities, such as…school, work, girlfriend, chores, football and of course…broken bones. In 2021, my hunting loving son broke his clavicle during a football game of his sophomore year. It was the night before the bow hunting opener. He resiliently endured the pain in his shoulder as I waited alongside him in the ER. He seemed to be handling it well…until…the doctor said, “No hunting for you this year.” Tears welled up in his eyes as his pain went from his shoulder to his heart.
Sure enough, his bow hunting season was done. Yet, he was determined to spend some time rifle hunting,and so spent time practicing shooting from the hip…shooting left handed…putting the butt of the rifle against his bicep instead of his shoulder. As I was practically hauling him into a stand to hunt one evening he said, “Oh man! I wish I had broken my foot instead of my shoulder! Then I could still hunt.”
Well…in 2023 his wish came true and he has found that it is
just as difficult to hunt with a broken foot as with a broken shoulder. I have to practically carry him to his stand…and
haul him up into that stand, and then do the same upon exit. He said to me just yesterday, “You know…I thought
the shoulder was bad…but I didn’t realize that how much of life is affected by
a broken shoulder or a broken foot…everything is affected.”
He is right. The principle in
his observation also carries on in the spiritual realm. Paul speaks of charismata, (Gifts of Grace),
in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul emphasizes how
each part of the body, has received this gifts of grace and is to use these
gifts of grace to build up the body. In
verse 26, Paul says this, “If one
part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part
rejoices with it.” My son has
encountered this reality first hand. My
wife and I have felt the effects as well.
His football team will feel the effects during the rest of the
season. His sisters have felt the
effects as they already have had to do more chores around the house than
before. (On an interesting note…they usually complain that he doesn’t do
anything around the house. Now??? Huh…interesting).
The bottom line I guess is this. As the body of Christ, we are called to build up and support and encourage the body as a unified body. When one suffers, all suffer…and when one rejoices, we ought all to rejoice. We are a body with many parts and sometimes these parts can be broken and hurting. This will affect the whole body. Let us follow the leading of the Spirit, as we use our gifts of grace to build up this body for God’s glory!