Ready, Aim, Fire
Linda’s goal was to be the church piano player. The church didn’t have an opening at the time, but promised they would call her when they did. When the church needed a pianist, they called Linda, and she excitedly said she would start taking piano lessons. Linda wasn’t ready when her opportunity came. Linda’s aim was good, but when it was time to pull the trigger, she wasn’t prepared.
A number of years ago I was sitting in a restaurant with Michael. When the waitress came to the table and asked what we wanted, I gave her my order right away. Michael wasn’t ready yet, and asked the waitress to come back later. When the waitress came the second time Michael had been reading the menu the whole time, but still hadn’t been able to make his choice. I finally looked at him and said, “You have been looking at the menu now for over 15 minutes. What are you thinking of getting?” He looked like a deer in the headlights. He said, “I don’t know. What’s good?” Finally, he looked at me and asked if I could order for him because he had a hard time making decisions. Michael had not yet learned the skills to processes his thoughts, and make wise decisions.
When you’re confronted with decisions, what are the processes you follow? There are different types of people. Some people are highly administrative and are always getting ready. In fact they are ready, ready, ready, ready. But it seldom leaves the academic realm. All they are ever doing is getting ready. They are learning how to play basketball. They are learning how to play baseball. They are learning how to be a teacher. But they are just professional students. All they are ever doing is getting ready. When their opportunity shows up, they are ready, but they haven’t aimed at any specific target, so when they pull the trigger, it is usually a miss.
There are other people who are good at ready, aim, but never pull the trigger. They know what they want to be. They can tell you what it takes to go through medical school but they never seem to get to the point of pulling the trigger on their education. They never pull the trigger on their destiny. They are always ready and aiming.
Perhaps the most dangerous people are those who only fire, fire, fire. They are very tactical, not strategic. There is no purpose whatsoever in what they are firing at, they just love the sound of the gun. The reality is they get a thrill out of firing, but the time and effort involved in getting ready and aiming has no appeal for them.
How often to people think that a bad decision is better than no decision? That is not usually true. There are a lot of bad decisions that have caused a divorce or financial disaster. You get the point. There are so many people who fail to follow the Biblical mandate of ready, aim, fire. First of all, the Scripture makes it very clear when it comes to ready; It is a fool who doesn’t count the cost (Luke 14:28). Do you have all the necessary materials? The Bible says before you pursue and aim, you need to make sure you are ready. Have you done the research? Have you sought wise counsel (Proverbs 11:14, 12:15, 19:20, 20:18)? Then you aim (Hebrews 12:2). Is the thing you are aiming for what God wants you to have (Matthew 6:33)?
How often do we fail to make sure we are ready – we have the materials and all that we need. Then aim – we have the specific steps in place and we’re living our life with the end in mind. We know what the specific target is. Then fire. This is making sure we are looking around so as not to wound any people. You don’t just fire. You make sure there is a target and that you can see the bull’s eye. You make sure your scope is calibrated correctly before you fire. You want to determine what you’re actually going for. If it’s deer season and you shoot an elk you can lose your vehicle, your gun, and incur a major fine. So before you fire you must know what you are aiming at.
When it comes to your marriage, your job, your education, the purposes of God – many of us know what we’re aiming for but we’re not ready. Many of us are just pulling the trigger and hoping something will work someday without having to recognize all three steps. We need to have knowledge at the ‘ready’ stage. We need understanding at the ‘aim’ stage. And at the ‘fire’ stage we need wisdom.
Are you ready to do what God has planned for you? Are you aiming at the target God intends for you? Will you pull the trigger, and do what God wants? Ask God to examine you today and make sure you have your “ready, aim, fire” in place.