Ronnie's Deal

On the front row, he sat, arms folded across his chest. His wife had been coming to this church for many years. She loved it here. He came because she begged him and because of the statement he had made to the pastor. He would never forget what had happened.

“Ronnie, it’s good to see you,” the pastor had said when they crossed paths at the grocery store, “deer season opens Saturday. Are you going hunting?”

“Hello, pastor, yes, I’m planning on going,” he had replied. He always felt uncomfortable around the pastor, and this was no exception.

“Have you seen any bucks?” astor asked, knowing that Ronnie scouted for deer all the time.

“I’ve seen signs of activity. I haven’t seen anything big yet,” he answered.

“Maybe this will be your year.”

“Hope so,” Ronnie answered, knowing what was coming.

“Ronnie, I would like to see you in church. So would your wife.”

Ronnie just stared at him. “How do I get away from him?” he thought, “I don’t want to go to church.”

Pastor waited patiently for an answer.

Ronnie tried to wait him out. Seeing it wasn’t going to work, he thought of a solution. Knowing his hunting spot wasn’t very good, he spoke, “Tell you what I will do. If I get a shot and kill a buck, this is it. For every point it’s rack has I’ll come that many times to church.”

“Deal!” answered the pastor, “see you in church.”

Ronnie glared at him, shook his head, paid for his groceries, and went home.

Opening day morning arrived and he was sitting in his stand overlooking the junction of two game trails. It was still dark out. He rested his back against the tree and thought about his agreement.

“Maybe I’ll see a spike buck. I can handle going once. I can block him out. Ignore him,” he thought.

The sun popped up over the horizon. The birds were chirping and squirrels were chasing each other through the treetops. He was watching them when he heard it. Something was coming. He could hear footsteps among the fallen leaves. Grabbing his bow from the holder, he peered off into the distance, trying to see what was making the noise.

“Oh! My gosh!” he muttered to himself.

The biggest deer he had ever seen came into view. It was a buck of massive proportions. What held his attention was the rack. It was tall and wide with a forest of points. “Nine, ten, eleven, twelve,“ he counted as it walked toward him. The base of the rack was so thick he knew he would be hard-pressed to get his hand around it.

The deer came as if it was on a mission. It walked right up to his tree and stopped broadside. and looked right at him.

“Twelve Sundays in church,” was all he could think about. It was the deer of a lifetime. He knew he would probably never see another one this big. He had to take the shot.

Drawing his bow, he let the arrow fly. It flew straight and true and in a few minutes he descended his stand and followed the blood trail. It had only run fifty yards. Taking his phone, he took pictures and began field-dressing it.

It was huge, easily over two hundred and fifty pounds. He needed help. Calling his best friend, Woody, he waited until he got there.

“You lucky dog!” Woody shouted when he saw the buck.

“I don’t feel lucky,” he replied and then told Woody about the deal he’d made.

Woody just laughed and shook his head.

All Ronnie could think about was the deal he’d made with the pastor. They dragged it to the truck and headed for the check-in station. The deer immediately caught everyone’s attention.

“It has to score in the high 180's,” they told Ronnie.

He smiled, nodded, and headed for home. He and Woody hung it in the garage. His wife looked in the garage, smiled, and grabbed her phone.

Now he was sitting in the front row at church. The congregation had greeted him with a smile on their face. He didn’t know that it had been passed around on the prayer chain and that the whole church had been praying that he would kill a big buck.

After the service, the pastor approached him.

“Ronnie, I saw the picture, magnificent animal. Congratulations.”

“Thank you. I still can’t believe it myself,” he replied.

“Tell me about it.”

“I was in my stand at daybreak. He came down a game trail, walked right up to my tree, and turned broadside. Pastor, he looked right at me. He didn’t flinch when I drew my bow and shot. I can’t explain it. It was like he was being sent to me. I think about it all the time,” said Ronnie.

“Ronnie, God works in mysterious ways. See you in church next Sunday,” he replied.

Ronnie left and the pastor turned and knelt at the altar.

“Thank you, Lord. You sent that buck, now help me finish the deal. I pray this in Jesus’s name.”

October 29, 2020