This last weekend, I had the privilege of attending our annual Men's Retreat. This retreat has been held at the beautiful historic Fort Robinson near Crawford, NE. It was fun to hang out with the 27 other men who attended and sing praises to our Heavenly Father and Creator and be challenged by his word. It was also fun to golf on the course there by Crawford and spend some time with Jim, whom I'd not known before this trip.
Golfing 18 holes on a beautiful afternoon in the midst of awesome scenery is right at the top of what I'd call a great day. The next day 8 of us took a long hike on the Trooper Trail west of Fort Robinson. This trail climbed to the top of some hills over looking the valley the Fort sets in and you could see the trees lining the stream that flows down through the valley. These trees are changing colors at this time of year from green to different shades of yellow's and gold's and red's. It was beautiful. The trail continued to circle back to the west where it ran through an area that had burned in a large prairy fire not long ago.
As we traveled along we found places where the fire had been so hot that it had literaly burned the trees down into their roots and all that was left was a hole in the ground with little tunnels branching out where the roots had been. Fence posts had completely burned up, leaving holes where the posts had been standing.
It reminded me of the passage in James that says, "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. NIV" I've seen the damage the tongue can do. It has left holes in families and churches that have taken years to fill. I pray that God will keep me from ever using my tongue to do that kind of damage. Instead, I want to be like the scouts who have gone to those areas that have been burned and planted little trees to replace the ones effected by the fire. I want to be a seed planter.
A little further on in that passage in James, it says, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom (James 3:13)." That's like planting little trees. In verses 17 and 18 in that 3rd chapter of James it says, "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." God wants my life (and yours) to be a life that has a positive affect on those around me. A life that encourages growth. A life that comes from a relationship with Jesus.
With the help of His Spirit I can be pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. A peacemaker who sews in peace, hoping to raise a harvest of righteousness. When is the last time you've had a chance to take a hike and think about how you're doing in life? This time of year is a great time to do that. Go for it.