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Sermon Illustrations: Goals

A king was hunting in a forest when he stumbled upon a tree with several targets drawn on its trunk. Right in the centre of each circle was an arrow. "Who is this fine archer?" the king asked his men. "I must find him and recruit him for my army." Just at that moment, a boy carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows walked by. Overhearing the king, he admitted that he was the one who had shot the arrows. "Are you sure you didn't just push the arrows into the middle?" asked the king. "No, sire," said the boy. "I shot them from a hundred paces." "That is amazing!" cried the king. "From now on, consider yourself to be in the service of your king." The boy was overjoyed. "Now, tell me," continued the king, "how did you come to be such an excellent archer?" "Well," said the boy, "first I shoot the arrow at the tree, then I paint a ring around it." [Many people are guilty of setting goals they can't possibly miss.]


If you want to be a tradesman, you have to do an apprenticeship. That's where you learn the skills necessary for doing the job that is your ultimate goal. Being an apprentice isn't the final objective - being a tradesman is. And that's what God is doing with us now. Preparing us to rule and reign with Christ.


A man wanted to be a salesman, but he stuttered very badly. There was an ad for a job as a Bible salesman for the Bible Society, and he thought God would help him to do it. At the interview, they heard him stutter and said, "We're sorry, but there's no way you could do this job with that kind of stutter." "Please," he said. "Just give me a chance." They asked him to leave the room so they could discuss it. When he had gone, one of them said, "I have an idea. Let's just give him fifty Bibles and leave him to it. It'll take him years to sell them." So that's what they did. A week later, the man returned and said, "I've sold them. Can I have some more?" Just at that moment the Executive was in session, so they asked him to come in and explain how he'd done it. "Easy," he said. "I just ask them, 'Would you like to buy a Bible, or would you like me to read it to you?'"


Florence Chadwick, noted for swimming the English Channel in both directions, decided to swim the 21 mile stretch of icy water between Catalina Island and the coast of California. It had never been done by a woman, and at age 34, she was determined to be the first. The chosen date was 4th July, 1952, a holiday, and much of the country was watching on television. At several points during the swim, rifles had to be blasted over the waves to fend off the sharks. After nearly 16 hours in the water, she complained of numbness. She squinted to see the shore, but the fog reduced her visibility to almost zero. She called out to her mother and her trainer in the rescue boat that she couldn't go on. They encouraged her to continue, but when she looked to where she thought the shore should be, she could see nothing. She gave up and was pulled out from the water. Imagine how she felt when she discovered that she was only half a mile from shore. She knew she physically could have done it. Later, she told reporters that she wasn't making excuses for her failure, but "if only I could have seen land, I know I could have made it." She was right. Just a few weeks later she attempted the same swim, under the same foggy conditions, and finished the swim in record time. Not only did she become the first woman to complete the icy stretch, but she beat the men's record by two hours.


In 1954 a survey was made of individuals graduating from Yale University. It was found that only 3% had definite written financial goals; 10% had a clear idea, but had not written it down; 87% had no idea of their goals. 20 years later, these Yale graduates were again interviewed. The 3% who had written goals had made more money than all the rest combined.