Are you on target today? That was a question asked back during the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. One of the competitions involved rifle shooting and Matthew Emmons of the USA team was one of the very best. In fact, he was already a gold medal winner in the 50 M Rifle Prone event.
So, he was a very heavy favorite to win the 50 M 3 Position event. As he lined up his final shot he was 3 points ahead of the fellow from China. All Emmons had to do was hit his target. Anywhere. Just hit the target, anywhere, and the gold medal was his.
Emmons had been training non-stop for over 4 years for these very moments in Olympic history. Countless amount of dollars assured him of the best equipment money could buy. His coaches were recognized as the very best in the world. So as he poised for his final shot at the target, victory seemed assured. He lined up his scope, aimed and fired. As he put his weapon down he was smiling ear to ear knowing that he had witnessed the target move which most assuredly would give him the gold medal.
However, as the officials began evaluating the targets concern played across Matthew Emmons face. After meeting with the judges, concern and consternation were replaced with unbelief. Emmons couldn’t believe it. He had hit the target alright, BUT IT WAS THE WRONG TARGET. Emmons had scored an 8, more than enough to win the gold medal, BUT IT WAS THE TARGET OF AUSTRIA’S CHRISTIAN PLANER. The mistake cost Emmons the gold medal and dropped him to 8th position. No medal for Matthew Emmons.
There are lessons to be learned here for each one of us. Are we on target? Many people in our world today shoot for status. Everything in their lives reflects their standing in society. Everything from the house they live in, to the cars they drive even to the place where the attend church. It’s all about the externals.
Others have the target of success. We seem to live in a society that is intoxicated with success. They have defined success as climbing to the next notch on the corporate ladder. I have spent over 40 years in ministry and sat by the bed side of many dying parishioners, and not one has ever said, “boy, I wish I would have spent more time at the office”.
Remember the Bible says in Matthew 16:26, “what good will it be for a person if they should gain the whole world, yet lose their own soul? Or, what can one give in exchange for their soul?”
So, again what is your target? What is your focus? Where are you headed? On our spiritual journey in this life we need to focus on the CORRECT target.
Here are a few suggestions to help us stay focused.
Remember that the Christian life is not a hundred yard dash. It is a marathon. So how do we stay in shape, spiritually, for this marathon of spiritual life? We must do 2 things.
1) We must consistently eat the nutritious diet of the Scriptures. Stay in the word. Know what God’s Word says about our spiritual growth. The opposite of spiritual ignorance is not spiritual knowledge but obedience.
2) We must consistently spend time in aerobic kneeling. Prayer is to the soul what physical exercise is to our bodies. These two elements MUST go together. A marathon runner knows that he must not only train efficiently but eat correctly. BOTH of these ingredients enable him to have physical endurance for the marathons. The same is true in our Christian life. We must have BOTH, prayer and Bible study for the endurance we need in to compete in the marathon called our spiritual life.
So here’s the question: “What’s YOUR target??” Let us aim at the target found in Matthew 6:33. Our bible boost for today is “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”
Associate Pastor Valley View Christian Church in Edgewood, NM
Licensed and Certified Church Consultant