Let All the Arrows Fly!

A message in our series How You Always Meant to Parent. We are becoming the parents we always intended to be!
Find the rest of the messages in this series here.

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It’s graduation season. The School year has ended and many students have walked away from their high schools for the last time. I remember my graduation. It was a time of excitement. I was excited because I was done with school.

My teachers were relieved….

The crowd was excited because they were proud of their family member, their son or daughter or niece or nephew or grandchild, who was graduating that night.  But in the thick of all of it was this feeling of excitement because there was so much potential in the room.  My Christian school was small relative to the size of large schools in the area, but the amount of potential in the room didn’t seem at all diminished by that…Sure enough, that evening marked the final gathering of a group that would end up in various careers, fields, branches of service, and ministries across the nation.

A poet captured the feeling this potential with a beautiful line that is lesser known that the other lines in its poem.

Psalm 127

1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.

5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

In this 5 verse Psalm, I think the one I’d like to draw your attention to is the least familiar, but I think it’s the most vivid.

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man So are the children of the youth.

We live in a world of incredible technological advancement in all facets of like, including military might and weaponry.

In an age of satellite surveillance, GPS guided missiles, drones, and the like, it’s hard for us to imagine the major advancement that a bow and arrow would have been for warriors.

Previous to the bow and arrow and it’s counterpart the sling, all combat was up close. You could only strike at what was within arm’s reach, or at best what was within reach of your spear throwing capability.

The bow and arrow brought about a whole new world of possibility.

To only have a sword and shield and face an opponent with a bow and arrow would have been the model equivalent of brining a knife to a gun fight.

What the bow and arrow meant for the warrior was greater reach.

Greater potential.

That’s what the poet is talking about here.

Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, like a weapons and tools with an amazing reach, are young people.

God willing, each of the children we have opportunity to minister to  will go further and carry the kingdom deeper into enemy territory.

The possibilities are endless.

Just as endless as the possibilities is the influence God’s truth can have on their lives.

If they go into law, they can carry the ethics of both a righteous and merciful God into a venue that is both more crooked and lenient and harsh than it should be.

If they go into military service, they can serve as a warrior like David who had the strength and courage only God could give making him a mighty man, but also the tenderness and love that made him a man after God’s own heart, making our military both stronger and gentler.

If they lead in any venue, they can have the discernment and meekness of Moses. They can lead with the patience of Job, which Moses needed a dose of, and they can lead people away from bondage and into freedom and prosperity.

If they go into business, they can seize opportunity like Joseph who then was able to demonstrate incredible generosity, while maintaining utmost integrity.

They can, in whatever place they end up, bring the Kingdom of God deeper into enemy territory, making the world a more heavenly place, causing things to be more like they are in heaven, and less like they are currently on earth.

I remember years ago Derek and Alison giving Dr Seuss’ book

Oh the Places You’ll Go to some graduates. Let me share an excerpt with you….

Congratulations!

Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes

You can steer yourself

Any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

Dr Seuss was saying what the poet was saying.

You’ve got so many options! You can go so many places!

That’s merely excitement about potential.

But what we are talking about is more than just mere potential.

We are talking about kingdom potential.

We are talking about the opportunity to do God’s Work.

When I think of the many kids we have opportunity to minister to, I’m excited not just because there’s potential ahead. I’m excited because there’s potential for the kingdom!

I get excited to think of these kids as arrows which are not shot at random like so many kids are.…

I get excited to think of these kids shot out, not as arrows shot at momentary and fleeting targets like success or fame or wealth…

I dream of a day when children who have grown up in our church, have sat in our Sunday schools, and leave with a Biblical Worldview and a passion to God’s kingdom work…

Years ago our method of launching arrows was a Christian school. Our Method is different today, but our mission is not.

We’ve switched bows, but we are still firing arrows at the same target.

So, if our archers maintain their aim, taking their cue from their King, and if the arrows are straight and true,

you’ll strike the targets that God has intended.

Arrows in the hand of a might man – a warrior – a skill archer…

Arrow in my hands aren’t very valuable. I’m not much of an archer.

Arrows in the hands of a skilled archer…

Firing arrows with precision is a great skill and it’s hard work. It takes strength and a good eye and a steady hand and breathing easy…

Let me ask you, where are you aiming your kids?

Many parents are aiming their kids at a life with a lot of success and money and very little meaning. You aim where you look… not where you glance…

You aim where you point… Where are you pointing your kids?

Can I direct you attention back to verses 1 and 2?

1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

It is meaningless for your kids to spend their lives working hard and accumulating wealth. No one want their kids to be poor…

It is meaningless for your kids to travel all over the nation to play ball so that they can increase their playing time and ability…

Right now, depression and anxiety rates are the highest they’ve ever been for student aged children…

We are pushing kids hard in a direction that brings only fleeting enjoyment and satisfaction.

How hard have you pulled back? Are you willing to let go?

In contrast to parents who are putting an incredible amount of pressure on kids to accomplish and achieve, we’ve got parents who do not challenge their kids at all…

The velocity of the arrow depends are how much strength you put into pulling back… and then letting go. If you never let go, the arrow never flies…

All over the news this week was the story of a lawsuit of two parents the Rotundos who were attempting to kick their 30 year old son out of the house.

He didn’t have employment. He argued that he hadn’t been given enough notice…

I realize that many younger people live at home and it’s for the benefit of their aging parents…

If you raise your kids to never be challenged, if you raise your children to never achieve anything, if you’ve never pulled back on the bow, don’t expect them to launch out and strike much of anything, much less a target…

Helicopter Parents….

Jim Elliott

Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that they were as an heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So, with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly–all of them, straight at the Enemy’s hosts.

(Are you an arrow fired in the wrong direction??? Robin Hood…)

Church, it’s our dream that every child in chandler knows God loves them and has a plan for their lives…

We need archers…