The big game hunts that Scott Shultz has experienced span the globe, but the farthest journey he’s embarked on is one that spans from the head to the heart. Set aside Scott’s skills and accomplishments as an outdoor industry leader and the brand recognition of his wildly successful ScentBlocker, Tree Spider and White Water products and you fully see the purity of the man’s surrendered heart.
Surrender is theme of Scott’s journey of faith. “It’s a word you don’t hear in the woods,” said Scott, who admits that until a few years ago, didn’t heed the word’s true meaning in his own life while expanding his business and raising a family. “I believe the Lord’s timing and purpose always are perfect. Backed by His promises, surrender isn’t such a scary proposition, but it’s definitely a daily process. Swapping my agenda for His was the beginning to the end of striving. It’s in stark contrast to what the world expects of me, which is a self-serving, ego-driven business man.”
His love for God’s “Great Outdoors” didn’t always align with a love for the “Great Unknown” and that’s what surrender bumps up against. To Scott, surrender means to relinquish control of his predetermined paths and possessions to God and submit to His power and authority without knowing the outcome. In the life of a believer, seizing control and wanting to maintain it is more of an act of cowardice than competence. Being an unrelenting “control freak” is living in disbelief that God can do greater things through you than things orchestrated by you.
Surrender is not a requirement God measures to grade our performance, Scott notes, but rather an act of self-sacrificing love modeled by Jesus “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8, NIV)
Looking back, the pivotal point of Scott’s life change came when he was introduced to John Smithbaker, Founding Servant of Fathers in the Field, by a mutual friend and colleague, Howard Tripp. Prior to that meeting, God was priming Scott’s heart.
“I had moved my wife and three daughters to Minnesota. I was running a thriving business. Everything that I introduced was a success. Everything worked and it was fun. However, all of it was for me. Although I was a Christian, I knew I didn’t have a healthy spiritual walk with the Lord. He would tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘This is not what I need you to do. I want you to work for me.’ I would agree, but then dismiss the calling because I was busy. I had another year of products to bring out. I had my plan. The business was about me and tainted with pride and ego. My marriage was intact, but wasn’t happy. I got along with my kids, but there was always stress and strain since everything revolved around me and what I was doing. This went on for a number of years, but there came a point when everything didn’t go so well.”
That point in his life came to a climax in a matter of minutes when John walked through his office door six years ago.
Scott witnessed a man who gave up trying harder for trusting more and who exchanged his personal agenda for God’s agenda. At this divine appointment, he got to witness what a man surrendered to God looks like. Scott was a slave to himself.
“On that specific day, I was struggling with surrendering myself and my business to the Lord and then in walks John. Here was a preeminent outdoor business leader and innovator – someone I respected in the industry – telling me with compassion and conviction about this ministry he had started for fatherless boys. He was preparing to give up his career to faithfully pursue and lead the ministry full-time. I was so moved, that I broke down in my office in front of John and Howard. It was amazing to see a man with that much focus and passion for God’s calling on his life.”
That puposefully timed meeting was such a tremendous testimony to Scott he decided to follow the example of John and the faithfulness of countless others in the faith. “Right after I met with John, God put me on my knees – the ultimate and humble stance of surrender. God used John’s example to lead me to that place.”
Now, Scott wholeheartedly believes his work is a mission field. He’s unwavering and unapologetic whenever an opportunity to share his faith is presented. He leads his company by God’s precepts, inscribes John 3:16 on products, inserts the salvation message in ScentBlocker jacket pockets distributed online and in retail outlets nationwide, and includes a “But God” blog on the Robinson Outdoor Products’ website reaching thousands each month with the hope of the Gospel.
Scott acquired Robinson Outdoor Products, LLC in 2002, seven years after moving his wife, Peggy and their three daughters to Minnesota from their home state of Pennsylvania to join the company. He grew up on a farm with an unquenchable thirst for the outdoors. His tough disciplinarian dad and Jesus-loving mom took him to church three times a week. Coming from an intact family of believers, it’s hard to fathom the fatherless rate in Scott’s own community of nearly 50 percent.
“You take the enormity of the fatherless issue and marry that statistic to the divorce rate of more than 50 percent and it’s staggering. Fathers in the Field introduces boys to men who commit to being a Mentor Father. They take them to church, share Christ with them, introduce them to outdoor adventures, and are present in their lives in a consistent and trusted manner.”
Scott cites Exodus 22:22 as his favorite verse relating to the plight of the fatherless. “God promises to hear the cry of the fatherless,” said Scott. “Fathers in the Field is an answer to those cries. I believe God shoulder-tapped John and made him perfectly suited for the ministry because of his own painful past as an abandoned boy. It’s like God said, ‘I allowed the difficulties of growing up fatherless for a greater purpose and it’s time for that pain to be used for My glory.’”
He circles back around to his meeting with John with an unmasked and unabridged revelation: “If I’m thoughtful and truthful about that first meeting with John, compassion for fatherless boys was secondary to John being a compelling example of what it looks like to surrender to God’s calling on your life. John was dying to self and following the Lord with abandon. He was giving up the things the world convinces us are the measures of a man. I heard the truth that day. With surrender comes freedom and peace. Striving brings discord and discontentment. I’m grateful the Lord intervened at the perfect time in my life.”
Scott’s generosity has outfitted hundreds of fatherless boys with outdoor supplies and camouflage clothing for adventures with their Mentor Fathers blurring the line between profit-making business and ministry outreach. Is it time to wave the white flag and remove the boundaries you’ve staked out in your own life and surrender to God’s calling?
“There’s more richness living a surrendered life than the world can give,” said Scott. “I feel blessed to give Fathers in the Field the assets and resources it needs to help John and the ministry team, including the volunteer Church Champions and Mentor Fathers, be obedient to the Lord and answer the cries of these boys. The economy of God is limitless.”