Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Safari Guide

The purpose of the guide, whether in the wilds of Africa, the rigors of Alaska, or a hunting camp in Colorado, is not to take down game himself but rather furnish intimate knowledge of the area and its resources. Sometimes he offers a protective role and other times he is simply an outfitter. In the worst scenario he is a servant to provide amenities which embellish life in a wilderness camp. Although not an absolute necessity for an “outback” adventure, he is regarded by the less experienced as a valuable aid.

Early in my adult life I was an avid hunter. I admit that because of limited resources and a “do-it-yourself” spirit I have only on one occasion sought the services of a guide. On an elk hunt in north-western Colorado near Trapper’s Lake, he provided room, board, and a wonderful horse with an even disposition and tolerance for an inexperienced rider. He also managed the hunt in rugged and unfamiliar terrain. I took no game; therefore one might say the hunt was unsuccessful. I disagree because it proved to be one of the more therapeutic and serene experiences of my life. There is far more to a hunt than merely leaving with some hapless critter strapped to the car. He engineered an opportunity but through the circumstances of the moment, I elected to pass and that is a story for another post. I have since traded my rifle for a camera and continue to enjoy the hunt.

Our life is cluttered but often enhanced with “safari guides” who don’t carry a 30-06 and probably don’t know how to skin a bear. The first that comes to mind is our pastorate and their able assistants. Priest, pastor, parson, padre—whatever—they are guides in our lives. What ever counsel they can offer is of course valuable only so far as we might implement it. Their example can serve as a beacon of refuge or a goal to be emulated. At the end of the day, however, they will not pull the trigger. That is up to each of us in our one-on-one relationship with God. Just like the hunter, it is we who are responsible for the success of our endeavor.

They can familiarize us with our necessary equipment—the scriptures—and teach us how to effectively search and locate their enrichment. Through experience they are most often able guides to find our way through the occasional impenetrable maze of mystery therein and help us come closer to our end result. They can empathize with our failures and encourage us to get up, dust off and keep up our pursuit of the promises which God has offered to the believer. They are ever ready to point out the pitfalls and dangers which we may encounter on the way. These dedicated folks are available to direct one to the right path, which results with oneness with the Almighty.

They will also help us to hone our techniques to be pleasing in the sight of God. They help us to find the brother in need and teach us how to be of service to others. They are quick to help us maintain the decorum of our home, assemblies and our lives. Instead of tall tales around a remote campfire, they offer us regular doses of the truth of the gospel and real tales of the example set by Jesus Christ. Instead of first aid for campground carelessness, they offer their prayers for healing not only of the physical infirmities but also weakness of the individual spirit. In that, they strengthen our personal belief to approach God with confidence to enlighten and enrich our lives and bodies on our own.

These “guides” are an essential adjunct to our journey to the Savior. Some of us require more “guide” service than others. All must realize that at the moment of truth, our own personal actions and beliefs will be the determining factor. I strongly recommend the use of the guide. One last reminder: I never met a guide who wouldn’t take tips.

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

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