At the age of 20 I had yet to shoot a deer. Seven wasted seasons with nothing to show for it. At times I thought about giving up but my love for the outdoors and my respect and admiration for whitetail deer had me out there again come October. Only that October was going to be different.
I had recently read an article on making a good shot while hunting and even though the article had lots of good advice, I only remembered four words that I read…aim small miss small. Like a key that unlocked a treasure chest, those four words had me holding my very first deer just 7 days after the season had started.
To some it may have seemed my luck was changing but it wasn’t about luck at all. I was now aiming very specifically and precisely at my target. In the years past I would aim at the deer. Now I was aiming at the crease behind the front shoulder about 6 inches up from the white of its belly. I learned that if I aimed at the deer I would hit a tree. But if I aimed at a very small spot on the deer, I would hit the deer.
This is also how I aimed at God for much of my life. I lived the life I wanted to live, did things that I thought made me happy, and sprinkled in some God time whenever it was convenient or whenever I was desperate. God didn’t change my heart because my heart was too busy with my life. I believed in God but I was far away from Him because I wasn’t truly seeking Him. I cared about my life more than Him.
God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Only when you put God first and above everything else will you find Him. I still struggle to always put God first in my own life. Between my marriage, kids, ballgames, work, projects at home…life can be crazy busy and demanding. It seems everyone wants my time, my attention, and my money. But I have learned one important lesson from hunting that can apply to my walk with God. Anyone can sit in the woods and watch deer walk around. Successful hunters aim precisely at their targets and more often than not, they hit where they are aiming.
Paul in Ephesians 5:1 says to “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” Jesus came not only to die for our sins, but also to show us an example of how we should live our lives. He gave up everything to become nothing. He lived His life for everyone but Himself. Because The Word took on human form 2000 years ago, we now have a benchmark, a place to aim. If we study the Word, seek Him with all our hearts, and give up our lives, we will look like Him. And isn’t that why we are here? How can we represent Jesus to the world if we aren’t aimed precisely at Him at all times?
Jesus told us what this representation of Him should look like in our lives. Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” It can be so easy to lose sight of our purpose. If we lose sight of our purpose, our target, we will most certainly miss it. What is our purpose? To bring glory to God in everything we do.
Do you fear putting your lamp on a stand? When certain people come around or when you go certain places do you put your light under a bowl? There were leaders that believed in Jesus when He walked the earth but because of the Pharisees, they did not confess Him because of fear of what the Pharisees would think. John 12:43 “for they loved human praise more than praise from God.” Unless these leaders changed their minds and hearts later, they gave up eternal life with God because of their concerns over what other people thought of them.
Do you care what people think of you? Do you ever feel ashamed or scared to share Jesus with others? Luke 9:26 “Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Jesus is coming back soon. If the oil in your lamp is almost out or if your wick is all burned up, it’s time to head to Wal-Mart. It’s time to rise up! It’s time to let your light shine for all to see! Share your story! Give hope to this dying and desperate world! Glorify God from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. Live and breathe for our great God!