By Dan King
One of the things a shooter learns about firing a rifle at great distance is the concept of “windage.” This is the fact that a bullet is affected by a breeze blowing across the field in front of the barrel from which the projectile is fired. The bullet will hit as much as several feet to the left or right of the target dependent upon the distance and the force of the wind. Also, there is the concept of “trajectory.” A bullet does not move in an absolutely straight line toward a target several hundred yards away. The power of gravity pulls it downward and moves it in an “arc” toward the earth. If the bullet is a particularly heavy projectile, like a .45 caliber, the arc is short and round. If it is small and light, like a .22 magnum, the are is long and flat.
A marksman must take both these ideas into consideration when firing a rifle at a target far away. Close targets are no problem: windage and trajectory are not worth considering at short range. But distant targets have special requirements. Many is the hunter who has been surprised to look through a telescopic sight and see the turf kick up several feet in front of a game animal after ever-so-carefully squeezing off a round – only to recollect as the animal spooks and runs off, that the bullet’s trajectory is not perfectly flat at a distance!
The hunter must learn to “aim high” when shooting at a distant target. So must the child of God. The Lord has given us many and “far away” targets toward which to aim. We must not be given to aiming too low to hit them.
The Great Commission
Jesus commissioned us as his people to share the gospel with those of the rest of the world. He requires in his commission a “high aim”: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mk. 16:15, ASV). This is a great work which involves large expectations. If we do not make our aim high, then we will tend to accomplish little or nothing toward this task. The Bible says the disciples were all involved in this labor of love: it was not the sole province of apostles and preachers (Acts 8:4). All of us today must make it our plan to contribute in some fashion to accomplishing this commission. Certainly most of us need to start aiming higher than we are already. Most of us would agree that we are currently falling far short of the target.
“Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect, ” said the Savior (Matt. 5:48). This is a high goal also. Are we making this our aim? Too often we are satisfied to speak of the “weakness of the flesh” and the “human condition,” and all that sort of thing. We dream up excuses for making no serious effort at all toward the high goal of attaining to the image of Christ. Can we truly say with Paul, “I press toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, be thus minded” (Phil. 3:14-15)?
Toward these ends, we are encouraged in Scripture to set our minds upon things that are “high,” that is, “heavenly.” “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth ” (Col. 3:1,2). Jesus told his disciples that they would be vested with great power. They were to “move mountains” (Matt. 17:20), tread on serpents and scorpions and have power over all the forces of the enemy (Lk. 10:19). The Holy Spirit gave them mastery in the name of Jesus over -every sickness, demon, and even death itself (Matt. 10:8). We do not today share in these miraculous spiritual gifts, but please be assured, dear friend that, even yet, “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).
Too often we do not expect to accomplish great things for God because we do not really believe they are possible for us. This is, more than anything else, the weakness of our faith shining through. A wise poet once correctly stated this universal truth in the following piece:
I bargained with Life for a penny.
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store.
For life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.
God does not want us brazenly to boast about what we are “going to do” (Jas. 4:13-16). Instead, he wants us to ask him for his help in doing a great work for him – not a tiny, puny, barely noticeable task – but a formidable labor of love. Our problem, however, is like that of the audience of the book of James: “ye have not because ye ask not” (Jas. 4:2). We get what we ask for; because we ask for nothing. We do not aim high enough!
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 10, pp. 307
May 21, 1992