Gord and the Leghold Trap by James R. Coggins

I don’t even remember Gord’s name. It could have been Gord. But I vividly remember the story he told, even several decades later.

Gord was probably in his thirties, he lived in the city of Winnipeg, and he had a wife and children. However, when he had been younger, he had apparently been a homesteader. That is, he had gone into the bush, cleared some trees, and built a cabin in order to obtain land. 

I was a member of the church council for a small church plant where Gord was a member.

One day, Gord came to the church council and said he had a message for the young people in the church. We welcomed the idea and decided to plan a youth service for one Sunday morning. We invited a contemporary Christian singer to come and present a mini-concert, and then Gord would deliver the morning sermon.

The church was between pastors, and we had just hired an older, semi-retired man as part-time interim pastor. The church council, on the other hand, was composed largely of younger adults. When we told the interim pastor of our plans for a youth service, he asked what Gord was going to preach on. We said that we didn’t know but that he had said he had something to say and we trusted him. The interim pastor asked if Gord had ever preached before and if he had any training. We didn’t think so, but we said we trusted Gord. The interim pastor thought we were crazy. He thought we should have asked more questions. He was probably right. But we trusted Gord.

On the day of the youth service, the musician presented his mini-concert. Then it was time for Gord to preach.

Gord called the older children and teenagers up to the front. When they had assembled, he showed then a leghold trap. This was simple metal device with a trigger pad and two powerful metal jaws. When the pad was touched, a spring would slam the jaws shut. Gord pried open the jaws to set the trap and then had one of the boys touch the trigger pad with a stout wooden stick a couple of inches thick. The jaws slammed shut, snapping the stick in half like a twig. The assembled youth were awestruck. A leghold trap is a vicious, cruel device that is used to trap small animals so they can be killed for their fur. It has been banned in many jurisdictions because of its cruelty.

Gord then told the youth to sit down. He asked us all to think about how it would be possible to get an animal to step into such a dangerous device and be trapped.

He said the answer is that the trapper would build a large V out of sticks, branches, and logs and place the trap in a small gap at the point of the V. Back at the outer edges of the V, the walls of sticks and branches were far apart and very low. An animal could easily step over the wall and escape. However, as the animal proceeded farther and farther into the V, the walls would get higher and higher and closer together until the animal had nowhere to go but straight into the trap. By that point, there was no way to escape.

Gord explained that Satan traps people just as the trapper traps the animal. Subtly, Satan directs people toward his trap. At first, the direction is subtle. There is a small temptation here, another small temptation there. At this point, it is easy for the person to escape. But, as the person proceeds further and further, the direction becomes fixed. Actions become habitual, and habits become harder to break. In time, the person becomes addicted—to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or some other evil—and is then inevitably trapped.

The point of the story was for the young people listening to step away from temptations when they were still small and easy to overcome—because later it would be impossible to escape.

I suspect many of those youth still remember that lesson. I certainly do.

About jrcoggins

James R. Coggins is a professional writer and editor based in British Columbia, Canada. He wrote his first novel in high school, but, fortunately for his later reputation as a writer, it was never published. He briefly served as a Christian magazine editor (for just over 20 years). He has written everything from scholarly and encyclopedia articles to jokes in Reader’s Digest (the jokes paid better). His six and a half published books include four John Smyth murder mysteries and one other, stand-alone novel. In his spare time, he operates Mill Lake Books, a small publishing imprint. His website is www.coggins.ca
This entry was posted in James R. Coggins and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Gord and the Leghold Trap by James R. Coggins

  1. Patricia Mussolum says:

    Love this illustration Jim. Satan and his tactics are rarely taught in the churches we’ve attended, making it easy for him to deceive.
    Thankfully we can pray for God’s protection around our familys and society, that eyes may be opened.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.