It’s about the Archer

It’s about the Archer!

It is somewhat striking that arrows are spoken of several times in the Old Testament, but only once in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:16). Yet, arrows were the most commonly used projectiles for long range warfare and hunting long into the first centuries of the Common Era. Even today, my nephew John who serves as an upper level executive for a hunting organization with 60,000 members, has taken to bow hunting. He knows far more about arrows than I would care to know. All that to say, I’m sure he would tell us an arrow has no meaning or purpose apart from the archer who employs it.

I thought of that this morning as I ruminated on Matthew chapter 5 verses 3-16. Jesus said,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you    and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,     for in the same way they   persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?    It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 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. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. NIV 2011

I began wrestling with what felt like a subtle disconnect between what Jesus wants us to be in verses 3- 12 and what He wants us to do in verses 13-16.  And then it hit me. The Beatitudes describe the kind of heart that causes us to be an influence for good, for the proclamation of the “Good News” and for the enlargement of Christ’s Kingdom. It isn’t about the outward show of certain religious practices or traditions, but of the life hid in Christ in God. Oswald Chambers put it well when he said:

[Who] are the people who have influenced us most? Not the ones who thought they did, but those who had not the remotest notion that they were in influencing us. In the Christian life the implicit is never conscious, if it is conscious it ceases to have the unaffected loveliness which is the characteristic of the touch of Jesus.  We always know when Jesus is at work because He produces in the commonplace something that is inspiring. (My Utmost, August 21)

Father,

As I examine my heart, I must confess the sinful temptation to which I often succumb, to measure the impact of my influence on others by my deeds rather than focusing on walking with You, the living out of Christ who indwells me. God forgive me! May I not so live as to fulfill Your will with the desire to be admired for my piety. Remind me, O Lord, that I am but an arrow hidden in Your quiver for Your use at Your pleasure. Soli Deo Gloria. Amen.

It is the skill of the archer we admire, not the bow and not the arrow he uses!

 

Published by

hiddenarrows

Ed presently serves as the Lead Pastor of Leesburg Alliance Church, Leesburg, FL. He has had over 30 years of ministry experience, sixteen of them at Greenwoods Community Church in the Berkshires of Massachusetts. More recently he has fulfilled transitional interim assignments for the Alliance Southeast of the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Englewood and Spring Hill, Florida. In addition, Ed has had nearly 13 years of experience in the field of geriatric healthcare. His wife, Lynn, is a true partner in ministry, having served Greenwoods Community Church as its Children's Ministry Coordinator for over ten years. She is a decorator, colorist, instructor in furniture painting, and an artist in her own right. For over 20 years she had her own business, Whimsical Brushes, teaching and traveling throughout the Northeast. Ed’s passion and heartfelt prayer remains for genuine revival and awakening in our nation. One of the keys to past workings of God especially in New England has been related to pastors mentoring pastors. God has given Ed a burden to be a mentor pastor, developing leaders for the church in the 21st Century. One way in which he is fulfilling that calling is through Rockbridge Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor of Spiritual Formation. Ed has earned degrees from Cairn University (B.S. 1971), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M. 1979), and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min. 2007). He has published several articles on the Spiritual Heritage of Litchfield County, Connecticut, and led several tours of sites associated with the Village Revivals that spawned the Second Great Awakening in New England. In his spare time, you are likely to find Ed at the piano or pecking out a blog on his blog page https://hiddenarrows.blog

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