Monday, June 13, 2022
Fourteen years ago I wrote a poem. It was based on a song. You will recognize it.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year. With antlers a-clashin’ and white tails flashin’ I’m out with the deer. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Obviously this was written in the Fall when deer hunting started. However, I love being outdoors in every season. When I was a young boy in fifth grade, our church had a program called Christian Service Brigade. It was my first real introduction to enjoying and surviving in the great outdoors. The head Brigadier was a man named Virgil Oldham, and he made a real difference in my life. He taught us all about living the adventure of wilderness life. We went on camping trips, canoe trips, fishing trips, and we learned the skills necessary to survive. Mr. Oldham was a great role model. He was patient. He was consistent. He was fair. He taught with words and by example. I’m sure every boy in that ministry would tell you that they felt like they were his favorite, because that’s how he treated us. Even though he never personally took me hunting, I know the love he gave me for the woods and the skills he taught me were the foundation of my love for pursuing big game.
I learned something else important from Mr. Oldham – that God can use each and every one of us to impact someone else’s life if we will just let Him.
2 Timothy 3:14-15 “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
Touching someone’s life for Jesus isn’t confined to those who preach or write. Leading people to Jesus for salvation isn’t limited to Sunday School teachers or missionaries. Giving someone value and purpose isn’t limited to professional counselors. One man, a heating contractor named Virgil, invested his love for Jesus in ministry to young boys by teaching them outdoor skills, and he changed their lives. He certainly changed mine.
Each one of us has skills. We all have areas of personal interest. What’s needed is for us to invest in the lives of others – especially our youth. The most important lesson I have learned from all of this is that the subject matter isn’t nearly as important as the connection. Young people need to know that they are worth investing in. The connection you make with them is far more important than the skill you can teach them. Someday, after a real connection has been made, maybe 60 years later, the real value of what you gave will be made known.
Thank you, Mr. Oldham, for making such a connection with me.