God Doesn’t Miss the Mark

Philippians 4:10-15

Acknowledgment of the Philippians’ Gift

10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned for me, but had no opportunity to show it. 11 Not that I am referring to being in need; for I have learned to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. 14 In any case, it was kind of you to share my distress.

15 You Philippians indeed know that in the early days of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you alone.

I am a golfer. I enjoy playing a round of golf with the church league or our weekly “Swing and A Prayer” group. Even though those activities have been sidelined as church-related functions due to COVID-19, the groups still are getting together to play each week. 

Phil Mickelson plays a six-iron from the pine straw on the 13th hole during the final round of the 2010 Masters at Augusta. Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

When it comes to golf, there are times I think I should be able to play like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. They make the impossible shots look so easy. I know I am not alone. Here’s a golf illustration for you today. 
One afternoon a few years back, I went out to the golf course when I had a few hours to spare. I figured if I hurried and played very fast, I could get in nine holes before I had to head home. Just as I was about to tee off, who should show up, but Bob, a member of my congregation, who came onto the tee and asked if he could accompany me on the links. Bob’s nickname was Corny, because he always told very corny jokes. Corny was retired, a jovial soul and quite a talker. I thought he would slow me down, but I wasn’t going to turn down his request to join me. I invited Corny to join me.
To my surprise, Corny played fairly quickly. He didn’t hit the ball far, but he plodded along consistently and didn’t waste much time. Finally, we reached the 9th fairway and I found myself with a tough shot. Directly between my ball and the green, there was a large pine tree right in front of my ball.
After several minutes of debating how to hit the shot, Corny finally said, “You know, when I was your age I’d hit the ball right over that tree.”
Just like the pro golfers on TV, they can do it, so why not me? And with that challenge placed before me, what was I to do? I couldn’t back down now. So I approached the ball, I swung hard, hit the ball up, right smack into the top of the tree trunk and it thudded back on the ground not a foot from where it had originally lay.
That’s when Corny said, “Of course, when I was your age, that pine tree was only three feet tall.” 
The things we think we can do, but we aren’t always able to accomplish them. The beautiful designer cake that should look like the picture after we bake it, the Halloween costume that should look like the picture after it is sewn together, the painting that the teacher led the class in painting should be as lovely as the teacher’s prototype. We think we can do it, but we fail. We fall short, no matter how hard we swing. 
St. Paul thanks the church in Philippi for their gift and support. In his message of thanks, he shares some powerful words: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” While that may not apply to the golf course, the kitchen or arts and crafts projects, I do believe it applies to living out our faith, and following where God leads. On our own, we will stumble and fall. We will swing hard and miss the mark. But with God’s guidance, strength and support, all things are possible.
What is God calling you to do and be today? How can God’s strength empower you to be what God is calling you to do and be? 


Let us Pray: 

Dear God, because of your love, forgiveness and hope, I know that I can do all things you would have me do because you strengthen me. Empower me to do YOUR will today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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