The old saying, “Close only counts in horseshoes,” was right. In the game of horseshoes, a ringer and a leaner are addable points, but you also get to count who is closer in the event there is no ringer thrown. However, in life “almost there” just doesn’t quite cut it. During a wedding, the groom doesn’t want to hear his bride-to-be say that she’s “almost there” in her fidelity and love for him. A baseball team needs a full roster of committed players to take the field. One “almost there” pitcher and the team will sadly lose more games than they can win. In life, your boss doesn’t want to hear that you are going to be showing up on time to work some of the days. And, when it comes to our relationship with Christ, “almost there” is still incomplete.
In the book of 2 Kings chapter 13, the prophet Elisha is nearing his death and is visited by Joash, the king of Israel. The king mourns the prophet’s coming death, and Elisha commands him to shoot an arrow eastward through his open window toward the enemy. He lays his hands on his hands and instructs him to then strike the ground with the remaining arrows. The king struck the ground three times, and Elisha became upset with him. Each strike with the arrow was a victory the Lord would give Joash over his enemy. He could have completely destroyed his enemy forever if he had struck the arrow more.
For many of us in this world we are “almost there” in our victory but we fail to strike the secret or socially-accepted sins from our lives. For some of us, we’re even plank-eyed. We can see everyone else’s problems and sins, but we can never reach our highest level of personal victory because we’re hanging onto the old sins that promote defeat instead.
Later in chapter 13, the prophet Elisha dies, and his body was placed inside a tomb. He had sought the Lord for a double portion of anointing that was upon Elijah, and history proves that, in his lifetime, he recorded almost double the miracles as his mentor. You see, “almost there” is still incomplete. I’m sure he never compared his resume with Elijah’s, but he fell one miracle short of a double portion of the coveted anointing, that is, until a simple burial took place. And, in haste to hide the dead man’s body from thieves, the grave diggers tossed his body upon the bones of the prophet Elisha. At that very moment, the dead man’s life was restored, and he stood to his feet, and the double portion was complete. In life, Elisha called bears into attack, turned nothing into cooking oil, and made axe heads float. But, in death, he brought life. When we die to the very thing that enslaves us, then new life is breathed into old vessels. The tomb that day was a burial place that became a resurrection platform.
Your life doesn’t have to be your tomb, maybe it’s time to touch what brings life instead of what promotes death. Maybe we shouldn’t despise the attack coming at us until we see the victory beside us. If it had not been for those marauders, the unknown man would have never lived. Even in our deepest grave, we’re never out of God’s reach. You can fail or quit at many things in this life, but Jesus cannot be one of those. Your eternity is not a game of horseshoes; close enough can never be good enough with your soul. Let’s make this Sunday a resurrection Sunday! Join us on the square, in Sparta, at 9 a.m. or 11 a.m., at Christpoint Church. I’ll meet you at the door. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.