A blog by Josh Humbert
Ever been face to face with a wolf? I’m not talking about at a zoo or someplace where you observe from a distance. I’m asking, have you ever been right there…face to face with a real, living wolf?
This past July, I had that exact opportunity and it was so cool. After finishing lunch with 3 good friends, we walked out this small restaurant in the middle of nowhere and boom…..right there, on the porch of this restaurant, was a man with two wolves. And we got to see them.
Full disclosure: Wolves are my favorite animal so yes, I am biased. But still, to encounter a wolf? It was fascinating.
I was able to see and interact, even if just for a couple minutes, with two full-grown wolves. To look in their awesome wolf-eyes, to pet their coat, to see them up-close was so cool. Keep your zoo-pass and your aquarium fish-tokens…I just want to hang with the wolves!
Where’s the pic, you ask? My defense: I intentionally didn’t want to be grab-the-phone-and-snap-a-pic-guy. I wanted to just see the wolves and not worry about documentation or social media. Do I sound like cranky-old-guy? Guilty as charged I guess, but I stand by it.
Several months ago, I came across this video about wolves. Take a look:
Fascinating, right? Even to those who may not be a wolf-afficionado like myself. By re-introducing wolves to a certain environment THINGS CHANGED. The wolves directly and indirectly brought enormous positive impact.
And all they did was: be what they were designed to be.
It’s not like the wolves had a meeting before being re-released into Yellowstone like this: “Look guys, the park is in trouble! We have to fix this area. We have to address that area. We better have all the answers and we better do it ALL!”
No, they just went in and did wolf-things. It was merely standard wolf-behavior.
And the environment changed dramatically in many positive ways.
Salt, Light, and…Wolves
This summer, our family moved to a different section of San Antonio. As my wife and I were looking at houses, we prayed often that God would plant us in the right neighborhood. What I mean is that we asked God to plant us in a neighborhood and on a street where our family could be effective missionaries for Him.
To be a Christian is embrace that call of God of taking the Gospel out; to be an effective missionary. Maybe in our Christian-lingo we overemphasize a term like “missionary.” Maybe we attach a stigma to it that a missionary is someone who serves overseas in foreign lands. I am totally guilty of believing that and thinking I’m somehow exempt.
But that’s not Christianity. To treasure Christ absolutely and worship Him unceasingly is to be a missionary WHEREVER you are. You can’t help but speak of Him or tell others about Him or show others glimpses of His love.
Jesus says in Matthew 5 that all who belong to Him will be the salt of the earth and the light on a hill. In essence, Christians will be people so in love with Christ that they live their lives to glorify Him in all parts of life and in all the earth.
So, as we’ve now moved in to the new house (which goes achingly slower when you have 3 kids and 2 dogs!!), we are seeking to live this. We are trying to meet each neighbor. Cookies and treats are being delivered. Names being learned. Seeds of relationships planted. Prayers being offered.
When we pray with our kids, we ask God to use to tell our neighbors about Him, so that our children learn and grow in this mission with us. I’ll take the boys along when its time to deliver cookies and meet more neighbors. We want them involved and rooted in this missional adventure.
ReWild Your Faith
The theory behind re-releasing the wolves in Yellowstone is often called “rewilding.” In the aim of conservation and restoring certain eco-systems, this theory says to reintroduce key elements or even dangerous elements (like a wolf) who may been removed.
I’ll ask the question: Is it time to reWild your own faith? To embrace what seems dangerous or different to you?
Is it time to bring in to your life what may be uncomfortable? Sure, you can stay in your house/apartment/dorm and be totally at ease…but you’ll be missing opportunities to make Christ known to a neighbor who is on a road to destruction. Maybe let’s reWild that.
Yeah, meeting strangers and seeking to build friendships with them may not be high on your “strengths” list or even what “fits in your schedule.” It isn’t on mine either. But maybe let’s embrace the unknown or edginess of getting outside our familiar walls.
Or better yet…how long has it been since you’ve been the wolf?
No, I’m not advocating you go hunt and kill a deer with a pack of your friends using only your teeth and claws. But when did Yellowstone start to see dramatic changes? When the wolf DID what he was designed to do. When the wolves simply LIVED the way God planned for them to live.
If you belong to Christ, you are not designed to stay quiet and comfortable. God’s hope for a Christian life is NOT to just be thankful for your own salvation and never do anything about anyone else. No, this new life in Christ is MEANT to be shared. The way He has loved you and shown you immense and immeasurable grace is designed to be taken to YOUR neighbors. Yes, YOURS!
Wolves do wolf-things. Likewise, Christians are meant to do Christ-like things: meeting and caring for others, building relationships, showing compassion, pointing the lost to Jesus! When that’s happening…it’s more than a trophic cascade….It’s the beauty of His Kingdom!
I hope these questions make you as uncomfortable as they make me. I pray you bring the wild back to your own faith. I pray you grow so weary of playing it safe that you end up being the wild wolf on your street. I pray you are the wolf God Himself has designed and empowered you to be.
Howl about that?……Sorry.
As always, thanks for reading. Your thoughts and comments are always welcomed.
Been a while since I went a howlin’. It’s too easy today, given our gated communities, garage door openers, social media (Facebook, twitter, etc), on-line ordering of just about everything and anything you need – no need/little need to go out any more), etc to not have much, or any contact with our neighbors. I remember growing up that we knew all of our neighbors … to the degree that several of them had, as I painfully learned, the okay to bust my bottom if I was out of line whilst out of sight from my mom and dad. Too many of us, me included, are content with staying parked inside our homes, or church walls for that matter, while a hurting world continues to turn to everything buy God when seeking peace. Josh, you have helped fan the spark in me that has too long remained at the “barely smoking ember” stage. Thanks for allowing God to use you!! Great word … sorely needed by this “defanged” wolf.
Amen and amen!