December 9, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: Old Paw Prints

Brother-Aaron-236x300Let’s play make believe.  Let’s make believe that we are in Africa, that you are a skilled lion hunter, and that you have taken me out to track lions.

(As if I would be that dumb.  We might find one!  Then what are we gonna do?)

As we proceed with our expedition we come across some lion tracks. You, being the experienced lion hunter that you are, can tell me a lot by the tracks of this lion. You can tell me how big the lion is. You can tell me how old the lion is.  You know whether or not it is male or female. And you can even tell me how long it has been since the lion made those tracks.

Yes, we’ll probably get real excited about what we were able to deduce about the lion from his tracks. However, there is a vast difference in studying the tracks of a lion and looking into the eyes of a lion! Looking into the eyes of a lion reveals a lot about the lion – and the person doing the looking!

All too often we Christians get excited about studying some truth (tracks) we have discovered that tell us where God has been. We get so excited that we fail to realize that He is among us now. Sadly, our Christian walk is hinged upon what God has done in our past and not upon what He is doing in our present, or will do in our future!

When Jesus made His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey, the Scribes and Pharisees missed the blessed event because they were inside the temple studying the old paw prints of the law. They were diligently praying for and waiting on a Messiah to come.

However, when Messiah came, they were so engrossed in the study of the old paw prints of the law that they missed Him, even though He passed right by them.

Saul was heading down the Damascus Road tracking the old paw prints of the law when those paw prints lead him to a face to face confrontation with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. His life would never be the same. This “present tense encounter” with Jesus that Saul/Paul experienced produced a life-change in him that the old paw prints of the law could never produce.

I wonder how many people today are not living a victorious Christian life because they are hung-up tracking the old paw prints of the past. I wonder how many are all excited about an outpouring of the Spirit that happened years ago. And I wonder how many are still despondent over a tragedy that happened years ago. My point is this: Our joy is not found in discovering or retracing the tracks of where God has been in our lives.

Now, I’m not minimizing Biblical and historical truth or accuracy. My point is that our Christian joy is found in having a “present tense fresh encounter” with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah today, tomorrow, and every tomorrow for the rest of our lives. Lamentations 3:21-23(KJV) says it this way, “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

I encourage you today to stop getting excited over the old paw prints of your Christian experience and to seek a fresh encounter with the Lion of the Tribe of Judah Who made those prints!

As I close this column today I am thinking about a television commercial showing Bambi as a young fawn. He comes bounding up to his mother and with wide-eyed excitement and exuberance that only a young fawn possesses, he exclaims to his mother, “What are we going to do today, mother?” Note: He wasn’t concerned about what they did yesterday. His concern was about exploiting today and getting all the joy out of today that he could.

As a Child of God, are yesterdays important? Assuredly! But they are not as important as today. The question is: What will you do with today?

Brother Aaron

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