The bull’s-eye of the Gospel

Published 11:34 pm Friday, October 5, 2012

By Chris Surber

I loved being a United States Marine. In fact, though my eight years of active service ended a decade ago, I still love being a Marine.

Among all of the ways that I served and things that I did in the military, my fondest memories are of time and again on the rifle range. From the smell of gunpowder and the crack of the M-16, to the range officer giving commands from the tower over old crackly speakers — “All clear on the firing line…” — I loved it.

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My scores were always high. Rifle “Expert” badges adorned my uniform. I enjoyed every annual trip to the rifle range. That is, except one. That year, nothing seemed to go right. I was sick and sleepy. It was wet and rainy. While cleaning my rifle, I slipped the rear sight into the night shooting mode. I didn’t notice it until after the last day of qualification.

The rear sight aperture for nighttime is about 8 times larger than for daytime. That means it is exponentially more difficult to center the front sight tip in what appears as a giant circle while aiming at the target.

I became so frustrated that it never occurred to me all week to slow down and check the rifle. I worked and worked to shoot well. Somehow, miraculously, I eked out a qualifying score, though not expert. The whole bus ride back to the armory I sulked, thinking that I had lost my skill.

While cleaning my rifle, I saw what had happened, and my heart sank. I had missed so many shots because of a simple sight adjustment. I was so disgusted with that I convinced my section leader to get me back to the range in order to get an expert qualification on the record for that year.

All I had to do in order to hit the bull’s-eye was adjust my sights. It just required a shift in my perspective. So it is with us.

Recently I read a little Gospel tract that made me sad, then mad, then despondent. The tract said that if the reader were to vote a certain way in the upcoming presidential election it would be a vote cast directly against God, amounting to rejection of Christ.

If these are the types of criteria being placed upon what is or isn’t legitimate Christian faith, then we are missing the bull’s-eye as well.

It has become strangely possible to claim Christ while missing the whole point of His coming.

“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions.” (I Timothy 1:5-6 NLT)

Follower of Jesus, what sight do you have up? Are you missing the target in your religious life or are you steadily aimed at the center of the bull’s-eye of the Gospel?