There is an old Peanuts cartoon in which Charlie Brown is out in the back yard practicing his archery.
He sets up the target at one end of the yard, then marches back to the other end and picks up his bow and arrow. But then as he prepares to shoot the arrow, he turns and aims the arrow at the side yard fence, where it embeds in the wood of the fence.
He then drops his bow and walks over to the fence, and begins to draw a target around the arrow, firmly lodged in the fence, with, of course, the bull’s eye right where the arrow was located on the fence.
At this moment, Lucy walks onto the scene and asks Charlie Brown why he was drawing the target around the arrow.
Charlie Brown replies, simply, “That way I never miss!”
Many years ago, the Moody Monthly carried a story about a student at Amherst College in Springfield, Massachusetts. Soon after entering the school, he put on the door of his dormitory room the letter V. Fellow students wondered what it signified, but he only smiled and said nothing when asked about its meaning.
When his four years of study were over and graduation day came, the announcement was made that he was the top student in his class, and had therefore been selected to deliver an address on behalf of the graduating class. Then the mystery of that letter was made clear.
It stood for “Valedictorian”. Throughout his four years of study, it represented the high ideal he had set for himself.
That young fellow was not aiming at nothing! Whether we recognize it or not, some of us go through life aimlessly, never really shooting at anything. We just live one day at a time, doing the same tasks, going the same places, and following the same schedule with little or no sense of the future and little or no vision for tomorrow.
We may even, like Charlie Brown, draw the target around our arrow in the fence to make it seem like we are aiming at something.
But others of us have within our hearts some goal for which we too are striving. The only question is what letter is written there?
Some put the letter M on their heart – for their motive is to make money. Others put F for fame, while almost all put an S for Self.
It is a good idea to step outside the door of your heart once in a while and look at the letter you have put there. It may be that when you realize what that letter is, you may want to change it.
The Apostle Paul, obviously had a C on his heart’s door, for he said, as we read in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ”.
J.B. Philllips, in his paraphrase of Romans 12:1-2, challenges us to not let the world squeeze us into its mold. Rather than allow our minds and our hearts to be controlled and aimed at the targets which the world determines are “good” for us, we should aim our lives at targets the Word determines are good for us!
And believe me, the world will attempt to determine the direction and the targets toward which we aim our lives.
John tells us in 1 John 2: “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16)
These verses tell us that the world will try to redirect our lives toward three things: pleasure, possessions, or prestige.
Media so attacks our every emotion and sensation in life as to redirect our priorities toward what the world considers important. I am so tired of hearing about how a new car will change the types of friends I have, or how eating a particular hamburger from a particular fast-food chain will make me a winner!
Rick Warren, author of “The Purpose-Driven Life”, makes this observation: “If you buy into the world’s system, that the ultimate value in life is pleasure, possession and prestige, you will miss God’s purpose for you life. I guarantee it.”
And the reason for this is that we are getting our values either from the world or from the Word of God, from our culture or from Christ. And if we spend our time aiming at the fence then drawing the target around the arrow, like the world seems to do, then we will never have any time to fulfill our original purpose for being in the first place.
We will miss God’s purpose.
So the very first thing we must do is decide what target we are going to hit – the one the world draws for us, or the one the Lord draws for us! “For to me to live is Christ.”
The world offers very slick rewards – for the time. But the Word of God offers very slick rewards as well – only for all eternity, not just for the here and now!
So what letter is written on your heart?
And why would anyone then aim at the “unmarked” fence? Old paint makes very poor targets!
God bless …
Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.