Sometimes We Miss The Mark

Writer Author  Jerry Lee Kay Sr.
Christian Article : Christian Living  - Fiction  No

Christian Author Writer The most difficult person to teach is the person who thinks he/she knows it all. Such a person is not open to truth because he thinks he already knows all the truth. There is no-one so completely in the dark as the one who thinks he has all the light....Remember that! The word used in the scriptures "Sin" would be better interpreted as "Missing the Mark" keep that in mind as we explore the word.

I remember when I was going to Bible College, my great-uncle wanted me to come to his home for a holiday. He pastored and built churches as a full time minister for seventy years. I loved him with all my heart and was always hypnotized when I heard him preach and teach, in short I was literally awe stricken by the man. I was a bright student, I had scriptural history and facts down to a science, studying Hebrew and Greek, and the culture of the Holy land and the Israelites, and was already speaking in divers church's. One morning our friend John Wolf showed up, I thought it was pure coincidence, only to find out later it was a planned visit. Uncle Roscoe and John had planned the whole thing. Uncle Roscoe made coffee and we sat down at the kitchen table to talk and enjoy a cup. As John started pouring coffee into my cup, He poured and poured and continued pouring until the coffee was spilling over the cup into the saucer and then out of the saucer into my lap. I said,“It’s full! It's full, It’s over full! It can't hold any more!” John stopped pouring and said...“And you're also full, so full of yourself...I can't teach you anything until you become empty, and ready to receive true knowledge and the mind of the Holy Spirit. Without it You shall "Miss the Mark" You will be just like a multitude of other self professed scholars and half wit professional wannabe preachers! You will be running around chasing after every foolish fad that sweeps through Christendom, and will always be looking for a gimmick to draw crowds and hard earned money from God's sheep! If You have your mind made up to be all you can be for the Lord, then you must get the mind of Christ. That is the only knowledge that really matters”.

Uncle Roscoe didn't help a bit, he said, "I wasn't realizing my full potential because I thought I knew everything, and had wondered away from the thing that mattered most", he said, "The wisest people I know are those who know how much they don't know. Consequently, they approach truth humbly and with a willingness to learn". "If you don't do what I am telling you, you may preach or teach for a hundred years but you will never finish the journey the way God intended." If your not careful your learning will become your religion! You will be, "Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". "Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth". "Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth! (2Tim 3:7) Be careful that you don't "Miss the Mark".

Four men were in a plane: the president of the United States, a college professor, a preacher, and a young man with a backpack. Engine trouble developed. The pilot announced that the motors flamed out. He further announced that there were only three parachutes for the passengers. A discussion was held among the four over who should get the parachutes. The president said that he should get one because the nation depended on his leadership. The professor argued that since he was the brightest, he should get a parachute. This left two in the plane. The youth began to laugh. The preacher asked why he was laughing at such a serious time. The youth explained, "The professor jumped out with my backpack!" Obviously, in this case at least, intelligence was not the same as wisdom.

Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Nowhere in Scripture is there a more poignant story of "Unfinished Journeys and Missing the Mark" than the story of Moses. We see him today at the end of his life. He goes up into the Moabite hills which overlook the Dead Sea, in what is now Jordan, and he looks over into Israel, into the Promised Land. Then the Lord says to Moses, "This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there." With that, Moses lies down and dies. Why is that Poppa? Because Moses "Missed the Mark" at Meribah!

A few years ago, I stood by the Dead Sea and looked up at those hills. I stood in the very land Moses only saw and I tried to imagine how he felt that day, knowing his life-long journey would be left incomplete. I went to the top of Nebo and stood for hours looking out across the land. On a clear day you can see all the way to Jerusalem, some 90 miles away. I have been there 27 times and can not explain the feeling that comes over me, the Dead Sea below, a little farther is Jericho, and then the Holiest city on earth Jerusalem. I have been all over the middle east but none of it including Jerusalem has left an impression upon me like the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah that is over against Jericho.

There is an armed Arab guard that is on duty there and I ask him to let me be alone for a while on my last trip. He agreed and as I stood there and gazed upon the very things that Moses looked upon, the Holy Spirit descended and I wept openly and deep in my soul.

Maybe, as he stood there, Moses remembered how it all began, with God calling him as a young man at the burning bush. Maybe he remembered the tense confrontations with Pharaoh, the plagues against Egypt, and the miraculous escape through the Red Sea.

Perhaps he reflected on the forty years they spent in the desert, the days they were hungry and the manna from heaven. Maybe he recalled how the people had rebelled against his leadership, how the people had repaid him for his love and loyalty with idolatry and mutiny and ingratitude of every kind.

Imagine the tears welling up in his eyes as he looked across into Israel! He had risked so much and suffered so long to get here, and now, at the very brink of achieving his goal, he must stop. His journey must be left unfinished. Everyone will enter the Promised Land except the one man who most deserved to go. It doesn't seem right and it doesn't seem fair. If Hollywood had written the script, Moses would have led his people in triumphant procession across the Jordan River into Israel. But Hollywood doesn't write the script for real life and there isn't always a happy ending...Life is often
a story of dreams deferred and journeys left unfinished.

So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.
And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day [Deut. 34:1-6].
Why was his sepulchre unknown? Because of the fact that Moses was to be raised from the dead and brought into the Promised Land. You will remember that when the Lord Jesus was transfigured on the mount, both Moses and Elijah appeared with Him and spoke about His approaching death. So, you see, Moses did get to the Promised Land eventually. The Law could not bring Moses into the land, but the Lord Jesus Christ brought him in.

Why was his grave kept secret? Well I think,...Satan would not want Moses to appear on the Mount of Transfiguration. God took care of this by performing the burial of Moses Himself. Although to us it may seem like a lonely death, one translation has it, "He died by the kiss of God." It is a lovely thought that God just kissed Moses and put him to sleep. What a picture we have here!

Poppa doesn't read the Bible in the same fashion as many folks . When I say that, I mean that every book, every chapter, every verse and every line is mine and the Holy Spirit is talking directly to me, I consider all of it to be a spiritual message to me. His written Word is a very personal thing.

No doubt there is literal historical fact and prophetic word of things to come, and thats why I don't get upset with folks that don't read it with a spiritual eye. Many writers, preachers and scholars are like that and I enjoy their work anyway. Many have accused me of reading something into it that is not there, I often wonder what they would think if I told them what I read between the lines?

I also wonder what kind of person they would be if suddenly to their genius was added the mind of the Spirit. I sure don't have the market cornered, it's available for everyone!

The imminent death of Moses is a repeated theme in these closing chapters of Deuteronomy. Moses knew what was coming, for him death was an appointment (Heb. 9:27), not an accident. Moses had begun his ministry as a lonely shepherd, caring for his sheep near Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God (Ex. 3), and now he would end his ministry leaving his sheep with Joshua and going up Mount Nebo alone to meet God.

But the emphasis in these verses isn't so much his death as the fact that the Lord couldn't allow him to enter the Promised Land because of his sin at Kadesh (Num. 20). Instead of speaking to the rock, Moses struck the rock in anger and said, "Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?" His attitude, his actions (hitting the rock), and his words were all generated by the flesh and not the Spirit and were intended to glorify him and Aaron and not the Lord. Moses did not sanctify God in what he said and did, and for this he was kept out of the Promised Land. He prayed earnestly that the Lord would change His mind, but the Lord refused to do so. On Mount Nebo, Moses was perhaps six miles from the border of the Promised Land, but the Lord wouldn't allow him to go in. God in His grace forgives our sins, but God in His government allows our sins to work out their sad consequences in our lives.

Was the punishment greater than the offense? Not at all. "Any offense of Moses cannot be a small offense," Moses was the leader of God's people; he was the Lawgiver and the architect of the Jewish nation and the Jewish religion. He knew that the greater the privileges, the greater the responsibilities. In what he did, Moses failed to glorify God, and for that sin (Missing the mark) he had to suffer chastening.

The art of living is not so much our ability to pick one path and pursue it doggedly to the end. It has more to do with how well we are able to change paths and shift directions when the situation demands it. Most of all, the art of living is the ability to respond with grace and faith when the journeys we make in life are interrupted and left unfinished.

If I may use the analogy of sports: life is not like a track meet, where you run in a straight, predictable direction until you finish the race. Life is more like a football game.

You rarely see a football player run with the ball in one direct, uninterrupted path to the goal line. Instead, he has to bend and swerve and change direction over and over again to avoid the people who are trying to knock him down. If he is flexible enough, if he can react quickly enough to the obstacles put before him, he can keep running and score a touchdown.

But more often than not - most times, in fact - the football player is stopped short of his goal. He is knocked down and his journey is left unfinished, so he has to pick himself up off the ground and try again, and again and again. This is the art of living and it's important that we know it, because for most of us, life is more like a football game than a track meet.

When you set out to drive across the country, you can sit down with a map and carefully mark out the route you intend to follow. If you want, you can plan to drive in a straight line on the interstate highways all the way from one coast to another.

But before you have travelled too far, you will run into those ubiquitous signs by the side of the road: "Your Tax Dollars At Work, Construction Site, Next 380 Miles, Pardon the Inconvenience." It's guaranteed. Your best laid plans will soon be dashed and your patience will be severely tested.

Now, you can do one of two things when you hit a detour on the road. You can insist on following the route you had planned to take, which means that you can stubbornly sit there in your car for two and a half years, when the construction work will be done. Or, you can be more flexible, realize that this route is closed to you and you must find another way to continue on your journey.

So often, the journeys we set out to make in life are interrupted. The straight paths we choose are detoured on the highways of our experience; our hopes and dreams go awry. More than that our plans and ambitions must sometimes be abandoned altogether and left as unfinished monuments to what might have been. Then we have to start afresh and not be defeated, for this is the art of living.

The apostle Paul was someone who knew all about unfinished journeys. At one point in his life, he felt he had accomplished everything he could where he was and he longed to go to Spain, where the gospel had never been preached. It would be a fresh start, a new adventure and he was plainly excited about it.

Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, saying that he would come visit them on his way to Spain (Romans 15:22). But he never got to finish the journey he had dreamed about. Instead of travelling on to the wide, open country of Spain, Paul landed in the dark, narrow confines of a Roman prison cell, where he was eventually put to death.

In our own lifetime, there was another Moses who looked over into a Promised Land which he himself would not enter. I refer, of course, to Martin Luther King, Jr., who spoke on the very night before his murder about going up to the mountaintop and seeing the Promised Land. He said that night, "I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land." Then he concluded by saying the same words Moses might have said on his own mountaintop so many years before: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."

Of course, we need not be a Moses or a Martin to know that our achievements are often incomplete. It seems that whether we are great or small, famous or obscure, we all can find detours and unfinished ventures in life. We all can see the promised land of some purpose we've been pursuing; then we realize that our journey will stop short of its goal, and we will have to be content with looking over from the other side of the river.

A pastor wants to call a church into the fullness and faithfulness of Christian community. When is that task ever done?

A parent or teacher wants to instill in every youngster a love of learning. When is that job ever completely finished?

A person decides to forgo a "conventional" career which offers more pay and recognition, and chooses instead a more idealistic line of work. They choose to help the hungry or the dispossesed. They are moved to bring a measure of reform and justice to a fallen world; they value morality over mammon.

But when is their work ever done? When will all the hungry be fed? When shall there be no more poor among us, or no more need to struggle for equal rights for women and minorities? When people choose a project in life which is larger than themselves, how do they keep going when they know that no matter how hard they work, the task before them is endless?

It's been said that, "Nothing worth doing can be accomplished in one lifetime" And because that is true, we need a way to continue our journeys in life without getting fed up or burned out. This is, first of all, a spiritual challenge.

Look to the people in Scripture who met that challenge. Look at Paul, who wanted to go to Spain and ended up in prison. How did Paul respond when his hopes and dreams were dashed?

An unfinished journey can be a crushing disappointment or an occasion for faith and grace. It all depends on what prize we are seeking. In Paul's case, he was quite clear what he was after, and he expressed it well in Philippians: "One thing I do," he wrote, "forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (3:13-14).

In other words, the prize Paul wanted was not simply to go to Spain; it was the upward call of God in Jesus Christ. So, if he couldn't preach the gospel in Spain, he would preach it to the guards in prison. As he lay in his cell and reflected on the prize in Spain which now lay behind, Paul avoided all bitterness by remembering the greater prize which lay ahead.

We see that same quality in Moses - especially in his final speech, as recorded in the last few chapters of Deuteronomy.

It really is a remarkable statement. As he gives his speech on the very banks of the Promised Land, Moses doesn't talk about his own disappointment, or try to settle old scores. Moses talks instead about God. He says to Israel, "Be strong and of good courage, for you shall go into this land. It is the Lord who goes before you; He will be with you, He will not fail you or forsake you; do not fear or be dismayed."

When we take on a task in life which is larger than ourselves, we need something even larger to keep us going. We need the Lord to go before us. Remember that God Himself called you on your journey - in a burning bush or a still, small voice He called you -- and because He did, God will see you through.

We can't change the fact of life's disappointments any more than Moses could. Sometimes we'll meet the detour on life's highway; sometimes our journeys will be left unfinished. But at least we can go on living for that upward call and that higher prize. At least we can know that no matter where our life's journeys may take us, our travelling still is pleasing in God's sight. Amen!

As I stood on Nebo that day I gave thanks for two old timers that loved me enough many years earlier to make me understand (even though harsh).
God has a plan for every child of His, and above all things we must constantly seek His perfect will and not be distracted by fads or teachings nor voices, even though some may be well intentioned. Uncle Roscoe and John Wolf drove home the fact that I should never take my eyes off Jesus, the Cross, and maintaining my relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit. Anything I taught, preached or lived should be done in the Spirit and pointed toward that Cross and the Messiah. Feelings, anger, disappointments, disillusionments, must never separate me from "Finishing this Journey". Even though things haven't turned out the way it should have, we need to consider Moses. For In due time Beloved. He shall eventually bring us over into the Promised Land. Amen!

Most Holy and Righteous God, who is our help in ages past and our hope for years to come, I pray today for the fellowship of the church and all its people. I pray for those who are weary and poor in spirit. I pray for those who mourn and those who hunger and thirst for what is right, that they may be satisfied in Your time and by Your peace.

Lord God, fill us with joy for the journeys we make in life. Teach us to travel in community with one another and in communion with You. Lead us not into temptation when detours deter us and obstacles arise and keep us from despair when the journeys we begin are interrupted and left unfinished. Hear our prayers today, O Lord, for the fellowship of all Your people. Through Jesus Christ. Amen!

God Bless You


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