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March 6, 2013

Striking Arrows

There is an obscure passage in the Old Testament Second Kings where the prophet Elijah is coming to the end of his life, and he has lived an all-out, no regrets, totally committed life to God. He runs into the King of Israel, and the King of Israel wants him to prophesize, so Elijah prophesized over the king. He said, “I want you, King, to take an arrow and shoot it out the window.” The king did, and Elijah said that arrow represented that the king was going to be the tip of the arrow to bring victory over his enemies to the people of Israel. Then Elijah did something really strange, he asked the king to do this, and it is found in Second Kings chapter 13. Then he said, “Take the arrows, and the king took them, and Elijah told him ‘strike the ground,’ and he struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, ‘you should have struck the ground five or six times, then you would have defeated Arum and completely destroyed it but now you will defeat it only three times.’” Now, the king only striking the ground three times was a symbol that he was halfhearted as a king. He was holding back and wasn’t completely all out surrendered in reckless abandonment to the love of God. He was always holding back and being tentative. He wasn’t completely in the game. He just struck the ground three times in life, and I’m afraid, many times, that I just strike the ground three times in relationships, and I’m halfhearted.

When we come to the end of our lives, all those awards, achievements, success and money won’t matter. All that will matter is your relationships. Your relationship to your Creator. Have you made peace with God? Your relationships to the people around you. In all my years of being at the bedside of folks when they take their last breath, I have never once heard anyone say, “You know Pastor Kerry, could you make sure they bring my Ferrari in here so I can just touch it one last time before I go and my kids take it and wreck it. Could you just bring it in here? Could you just tell me my bank account? Could you just give me the numbers one more time? I just want to hear it ringing in my ears when I die before my kids fight over it. Could you bring me my trophies and my awards because I want them to be close to me?” No, I have never once heard that, but I’ve heard over and over again family, friends and loved ones around me because at the end of life, the only thing that matters is relationships. You can be on the cover of People magazine, and the most famous person in the world. You can be at the top of Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the world, but if you don’t have love, then you are a zero because all that matters in life, when its all said and done, is did he love? Did she love? That’s the only thing that’s going to last. It’s the only thing that never fails. Attraction fails. Success fails. Accomplishments fail. In the end, the only thing that matters is love. Love never fails. I have to be all out totally committed to striking the arrows on the ground as many times as it takes.

What can you do to be all out committed to your relationships?