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What We Are All Really Hunting

Hunters are dancing around campfires in Virginia. They’re stabbing at the smoke with spears and whooping it up with their buddies. They’re doing a jig, celebrating their new found freedom to hunt private land on Sunday, the new law that Governor McAuliffe recently signed.

If you’ve read my previous columns on the subject you already know that I’ve been an outspoken advocate for Sunday hunting. Last month I even traveled up to Richmond at the behest of a lobbyist who asked me to speak before the State Senate’s Agricultural Committee about ending the ban.

I’m convinced that the government should not be in the business of enforcing Sabbath law or custom. If you’re interested, you can read my scripture laced speech at

I know at first glance it might seem odd that a preacher would feel so strongly about revoking a law that might keep more men in the pews on Sunday.

But a closer look reveals a deeper issue of the soul. There is something non-hunters and hunters alike are pursuing, yet rarely finding. We run, hike, bike, and even ride horses to track it down. Others try a different approach, they wait in ambush for it behind computer screens and in front of television screens.

What everyone is hunting for is Sabbath.

Sabbath: the healthy way to medicate the aches and pains of existence.

Sabbath: the place we find reprieve from the stress that is trying to execute our souls.

Sabbath: the time we remember that even the Creator rested.

This is why I don’t generally endorse hunting on Sunday.

If my hunting friends would turn down the music and stop leaping around the fire for a minute, and listen to what I’m saying, I think even they will agree with me. Understand, that just because you’re in the woods on Sunday morning doesn’t guarantee you’re going to find what you’re looking for.

Now to be sure, crawling into a tree stand before dawn is way healthier than crawling into a bottle and creeping home before dawn. But make no mistake about it, it’s pretty easy to hide in the woods. It can be an all too convenient place to escape to when we’re doing our best to avoid dealing with the consequences of a restless life.

There are different days and different ways of practicing Sabbath. That why I’m not telling you when or how to find it, and why I believe everyone should have the right to choose.

All I’m saying is that if you’re like me, you already know you need to track it down. I’ve come to realize that if I’m going to be the kind of man my wife wants to be married to, my soul needs rest. If I’m going to be the kind of dad my kids and grandkids want to talk to, my soul need rest. If I’m going to be the kind of preacher men want to listen to more than they want to hunt on Sunday, my soul most definitely needs rest.

Hey, maybe you’re the kind of guy who can run around twenty-four seven and still be all those kind of things. More power to you. Consider yourself excused from the rest of this sermon, err…column. I just know I’m not that guy.

Truth is, most of the guys I know who live like that are first class you know whats. To be sure they have a fair number of shiny new big-boy toys and pal around with a gaggle of like-minded cronies. Some are pretty good at catching fish and killing game, but they’re not very good at being the kind of men most of us aspire to be.

I find it curious that Jesus said that if I come to Him, He would give me rest for my soul. If I were to self-diagnose the things I think my soul needs, I don’t think rest would be at the tops of the list. Yet I’ve discovered that when my soul stops running around, my mind and body start to follow suit.

This why I’m still hunting Sabbath.

Jeff Ell is pretty good at catching, killing, picking, and growing things to eat. He regularly finds bemusement in the outdoors and enjoys telling his stories to anyone who will listen. Jeff’s the author of Ruth Uncensored, blogs at and can be contacted via Facebook or smoke signal.

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