Old Paths

tracy trap

Tracy inspects one of his beaver traps

Working along side my partner David Spencer, I’ve watched our church planting ministry in Eastern Kentucky come alive. In places where many denominations and organizations had given up and moved away, the church plants have taken hold and are growing. Success has brought with it some problems. How do we find preachers to serve churches where there may be little, if any, salary? Solution: We are training our own!

Young men and women have answered the call, and the ministry has provided basic training. They are serving under the mentorship of David. One example is Tracy, a quiet hard working married man with two children. He loves the Lord and works with his father who pastors one of the churches. The area is economically depressed. The New York Times recently listed the ten hardest places in the U.S. to live. Four of those areas are where we serve. Tracy lives in one of those areas. He has found a unique way to help support his family as he serves the Lord. He has turned to an old path – he is a beaver trapper!

tracy dam

Tracy clearing out a beaver dam

The energy companies in the mountains must maintain a safe water flow away from strip-mines. Catch basins, lakes, and ponds are built to collect runoff. The water must be properly treated. The EPA carefully monitors the water quality. Beavers have invaded the basins, lakes, and ponds in the area. They dam or clog the overflow channels and pipes. There must be a steady outflow to maintain water quality. Tracy traps the beavers for the energy companies to prevent restricted flow and the emission of dangerous effluents. He is a throw back to early mountain men who made a living as beaver trappers.

Let me share an analogy based on Tracy’s experience. Like Tracy, who has taken up an ‘old path’ physically, we can find strength in the ‘old paths’ spiritually. May I share a passage of scripture that serves as a guide for our ministry?  God’s Message yet again: ‘Go stand at the crossroads and look around. Ask for directions to the old path (road), the tried and true path. Then take it. Discover the right route for your souls’ (Jerermiah 6:16, Message Translation).   For us, the call to the old paths is a call corporately to return to Biblical principles that guided our forefathers in framing our Constitution. It is a call to revisit the moral and ethical standards that guided us as a society and raised America to greatness. It is a call for us as individuals to follow the traditional paths of those who have thrived spiritually. Allow me point you to a few scriptures about old paths and old ways:

  • You (Lord) will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy…” (Psalm 16:11)
  • “He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.” (Proverbs 2:8)
  • “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on.” (Proverbs 4:14)
  • “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and justice.” (Psalm 25:10)
  • “In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”  (Proverbs 12:28)

As a country and as individuals, we have all too often left the tried and true old paths. We can look back and see how the Lord has blessed those that follow the old paths that He provided. Wouldn’t it be wise to return to His word and His paths.

Let us “be called The Restorer of Paths…”  (Isaiah 58:12)

~ Brother Roy

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