Are you on target?
Doug Sherman trained fighter pilots for the United States Air Force. That's like Driver’s Ed at supersonic speed. In his book, How To Balance Competing Time Demands, Doug relayed a near-death experience that helped me remember what matters in life.
A student pilot was responsible to follow a lead aircraft that was attempting to outmaneuver him. Both aircraft were painted white and were traveling at near supersonic speed.
At one point, the lead aircraft made a sharp dive. The student followed in hot pursuit. He was about 1000 feet behind the lead jet, which appeared as a white dot on the horizon. Suddenly, the lead pilot executed a high climb. Sherman waited for his training pilot to follow suit, but he never did.
“Lieutenant, do you have the lead in sight?” Sherman asked.
“Yes sir, I do,” came his confident reply as they screamed along at about 1500 miles per hour.
“Well,” said Sherman in a slightly higher voice, “Where is he?”
The pilot shot back, “He’s in my twelve o’ clock, sir – right in front of me.”
Sherman sat up and looked out over his student’s shoulder. Sure enough, there in front of them was a tiny white dot--and they were gaining on it rapidly. The only problem was that it was not the lead pilot, but a white oil tanker on the ground!
The training pilot had fallen victim to target fixation. Thinking he was tracking the right thing, he became oblivious to the most important thing—the lead pilot.
Following the Lead Pilot is still the most important thing. Hear the words of Jesus:
But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together.And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him.“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment." Matthew 22:34-38 ESV
How easy it is to miss THE TARGET because we get fixed on a target:
- a hobby
- a relationship
- a career
- a sport
- a house
- a reputation
- a disappointment
- a problem person
Fixing on things other than God is going to lead to a crash, so how do I keep the Lord "in my twelve o’ clock"?
The Westminster Shorter Catechism, a teaching tool the church has been using for 350 years, provides the answer by asking a question: "What is the chief purpose for which people are made?" The answer echoes Jesus:
Loving God is enjoying God. It is:
- Enjoying God's grace
- Enjoying God's words
- Enjoying God's people
- Enjoying God's presence
- Enjoying God's forgiveness
- Enjoying God's rest
- Enjoying God's creation
Loving God is bringing him glory with everything we have and in everything we do:
- Raising little children
- Bringing our best to the office, the job site, or a project
- Pursuing reconciliation rather than harboring a grudge
- Taking time to pray
- Recognizing "every square inch" of our lives as His domain
Loving God goes way beyond Sunday. It is enjoying God and bringing Him glory every day.
What does that look like for you today?
 Sherman, Doug. How To Balance Competing Time Demands. Nav Press. 1989.