Vol.VII No.VII Pg.5
September 1970

Know Your Target

Robert F. Turner

As a boy, I hunted quail, rabbits, and squirrels — and BIG game was an occasional ground-hog. Consequently, on my first deer hunt I expected some huge animal to come charging through the woods — perhaps even threatening me with massive antlers. No wonder I had trouble seeing my first shadowy white-tail slip quietly through the brush and disappear. I hunted, but failed to see, because I had unseen conceptions about my proposed target.

Now it seems we may be failing in the work of the Lord because we are not realistic about the most complex game of all — the hearts of people. And some make a life-time safari for numbers and church image without even realizing they seek the wrong game. If we do not capture the heart for Christ we have done nothing.

Those church-members in the pews — are not hanging on every word the preacher or teacher speaks. Ideally, they hunger for Gods truth, and are anxious to drink the living water; but actually many are duty —conscious and polite enough to sit quietly and look at the speaker, while their mind copes with a problem at home. Some are dull of hearing due to stunted spiritual development; and some are mentally unable to grasp new material rapidly stated. Many are so tradition bound as to miss a very familiar point if stated differently — they are used to hearing it one way only — and may think you have some new doctrine, if they think anything.

So, the preacher gives them a good lashing for their hypocrisy unconcerned, worldly minds — and they wonder what has come over the man. We have missed again failing to understand our targets. If we would flatly concede that they are not the dedicated, studious, single-hearted saints they should he, we can find no place in the line-up for ourselves? And just what do we honestly expect??

I believe we have a right to expect a people who want to do better, who realize they should be more spiritually minded than they are. We must help one-another to achieve this goal— and that means we must reach less-than-perfect hearts with Gods truth. The tradition-bound man would like to be a servant of Christ, but we must reach a tradition-bound heart to show him that he is tradition-bound. The distracted house-wife would like to truly worship God (after all, she did assemble with the saints) but we must get our message about true worship into a distracted heart.

The same principle works in reaching for people of the world. One can not reach a vile heart with material aimed at a heart of faith. As the story of the cross, judgement, and eternal punishment have been neglected, so we have failed to reach the hearts of the world. Sometimes it seems our own lack of faith in the gospel of Christ keeps us from presenting this where it is most needed.

A good shot learns his rifle well, understands the sight picture — and then, concentrates on the target. We must give more attention to understanding the hearts of people. Of what benefit is a powerful bullet — which misses by a country mile.