My father loved to hunt. All throughout my growing up years he was talking about hunting, planning a hunting trip or actually hunting. He loved all kinds of hunting; deer, duck, rabbit, you name it he would hunt it.

But he especially liked to hunt fowl. He loved hunting grouse, pheasant and duck. He even had a hunting dog. Teddy was a Chesapeake Bay retriever. My dad grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay so he loved that dog. And Teddy would retrieve what dad shot down. He was a great swimmer, had a coat made to repel water and a mouth that had a large space between teeth where he could hold a duck.

In our home my dad kept all his hunting gear in the basement. He had a gun safe, a bench where he made his own ammunition and a closet with all his hunting clothes. And he had his duck decoys. Those decoys were remarkably lifelike. If you didn’t know you were in a basement you might think those ducks were real.

When dad went hunting he put out the decoys in the water. And sure enough the ducks would come around. Dad never wanted to shoot a duck in the water he waited until they flew away and then shot them down or at least tried to shoot them down. He thought the fun was in trying to hit a moving target. When he was successful the duck would fall out of the sky into the lake. Teddy would then swim out and pick up the duck bringing it back to dad.

I’ve interacted with all kinds of people through the years and I often think about those decoys. They looked just like ducks. They were the right size, had the proper coloring and floated on the water. But they were not real ducks. Some people I’ve met and known looked like real Christ-followers but they were just decoys.

It is a hard reality to face. They say they want to follow Jesus but they won’t pay the price that is required. I want to believe the best in people, I wish they would be committed but they’re not. They are decoys. This is not easy to digest it’s hard to hear. It will give you a headache and heartache. But it’s true.

Decoys are not alive. They look alive they float on the water just like the real thing. But they’re not real. They’re decoys. And the question is this – are you a decoy? Are you a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ or just someone who looks like one?


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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