Faith Matters

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By REV. DR. BRIAN GIGEE

 “Missing the Mark!

“…for all have sinned… falling short of the glory of God...” – Romans 3:23

Sinners and saints.  Good guys and bad ones. Friend or foe.  Winners and losers.  In or out?  Faithful or faith-less.  My, how we love to make distinctions. Oh, how we like to point out when good people do bad things.  Maybe we should.  But does it help?  How easy it is for me to search the scriptures and find people who have missed the mark… Cain killed his brother Abel… before the Bible even says God gave Moses a tablet of rules of which ‘do not kill’ was one of them. Funny how Moses, a killer of an Egyptian soldier brought down the law saying, “do not kill.”  And then there was King David.  He missed the mark a couple of times.  God did not impeach him.  King Herod lopped off John the Baptizer’s head as a trophy of lust and Pontius Pilate… well, he washed his hands of killing Jesus… missing the mark as well.  Caesar fired him anyway.

Now, I could go on and lift up some real mark missers from history like Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, or Adolf Hitler, but for the sake of asking… can we stop there and just consider our own family trees or what happens when any one of us takes a quick look in the mirror?  The words of St. Paul punch right between the eyes… yes… “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  In fact, some of us are really good at it!   Oh, yes… really good at it … but no one wants to be labeled a sinner… even though it is easy to point fingers.   But as my grandmother reminded me… long ago… “be careful as you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing right back at you!”  Faith matters!

Let’s work with the end result in mind.  One of the earliest prayers of the church was… “Come, Lord Jesus…” that’s all… and they hoped it was soon… in their lifetime!  Now, don’t get me wrong… I’m all for that… but I’m pretty sure the Bible says only God knows when that day will come…  and when the Lord returns… and I trust the Christ will… each one of us will be caught doing something and when it comes to me… I want to be caught loving those around me and being guilty of kingdom of God ideals… like feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, visiting the sick and imprisoned, mentoring and coaching three generations of men, affirming those who grieve and that acknowledging those whom they loved and have been loved by was more than a brief moment in time… yes… more than that… that it was holy time…time that mattered… for each of us… for the ages.   St. Clement wrote… “God sees all things: therefore, let us avoid transgression.”  His way of saying, ‘plan ahead.’

Have I fallen short of the glory of God?  Sure. Too many times to count.  Do I like being identified as a ‘sinner’?  When the word ‘sinner’ paints a picture of someone up to no good?   Of course not.  And even though I cannot change my past, some of my best learnings flow from my mistakes and errors.  Knowing how to read the New Testament in Greek helps me understand the heart of God… as missing the mark means missing the moment. 

Mybad?  Not really.  According to St. Paul… to ‘sin’ (the Greek word ‘amarti’a’ referencing bows and arrows) is likened to the keen-eyed ability of the bowman taking aim at a target… being ‘righteous’ when hitting the target… but being ‘unrighteous’… a sinner… when the arrow falls short of its goal.  To be a sinner then is more of being a bad shot than actually being a bad person.

And knowing how I am… I know there’s still more learning to come… thus trusting God’s grace to be big enough to cover all that I’ve done and left undone. And as the good news always follows the bad… I rejoice in the news that by grace the Lord has offered us all an endless supply of arrows in the quiver over life’s shoulder.  This way we have more chances to mark each day’s moments for good and avoid… missing the mark.

Rev.   Dr.   Brian   K.   Gigee   is   a   long-time resident of Pearland, having pastored four churches in Texas and Louisiana over the last four   decades.     Follow   his   blog ‘murmurings’ at https://briangigee.wordpress.com/.   Please send your comments   and / or questions to [email protected].

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