“Missing the Mark”

One year the farmers around our small Kansas town were persuaded to forego the planting of their usual crops and instead grow potatoes. They were spectacularly successful, and produced wonderful, large and tasty potatoes. Unfortunately, they couldn’t sell them at a profit because of the glutted market. They told the town folks to come and get all the potatoes they wanted for free before they plowed them under and returned to grow their former crops. We were happy at the unexpected windfall and filled our pantries.

In many other of life’s experiences we “miss the mark.” Your anticipated picnic might have been spoiled by bad weather. The person just ahead of you in line becomes the 100,000th customer and gets lots of prizes. The car you buy turns out to be a real lemon. Your GPS malfunctions and you get lost in a strange city. The list could go on and on. In each case you have, “missed the mark.”

We all have probably heard that sin is “missing the mark.” This must have been taken from the shooting of an arrow and missing the bullseye. But in all the above examples were the people sinning? I believe they were simply undergoing the circumstances and mistakes that happen as life goes by.

Surely sin is more than just “missing the mark,” it involves willful, evil rebellion against God. (2Pe 3:3) (Jas 4:1-3) (Mt 23:13, 33, 34) The Pharisees were “hitting the mark” in many areas (Mt 23:23) but Jesus still called them blind fools, hypocrites, brood of vipers, greedy and self-indulgent. They were neglecting justice, mercy and faithfulness. (Mt 23:23) They had definitely “missed the mark” in those areas.

However, it was the lack of humility and love that were the bigger sins. God still hates the sin while loving the sinner. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (Pv 3:34) (Jas 4:6, 10) (1 Pe 5:5) There was a popular bumper sticker from years gone by that said, “Be patient with me; God is not done with me yet.” Even we seniors still embrace that truth. If we are humble, tolerant of other’s feelings, patient and don’t violate our consciences, I believe God will direct the arrows we shoot towards the bullseye. We won’t “miss the mark.” (Rom 14) (2 Cor 5:19)
—Jim Bailey