Target Practice

During my time at college, five coke cans were positioned on my windowsill in front of my desk.

Many visitors have enquired about the cans; were they there just because they look quite cool? was there a deeper, more significant purpose for their display?

The reason is rooted in the story of David and Goliath.

Remember the story? Small Boy vs Giant Man. Giant Man is big warrior with huge sword and lots of armour. Small Boy is small with little slingshot. Small Boy shoots Giant Warrior Man with little slingshot and small stone. Small stone hits Giant Warrior Man in head, sinks into Giant Warrior Man’s skull… Giant Warrior Man dies. Small Boy saves the day and becomes hero.

It’s a great story. But I heard a sermon that put it into a bit of perspective for me.

Yes, David, the small boy shot Goliath with one smooth stone. One shot, one kill.
But if we honestly think that was the first shot David had ever taken we are seriously mistaken and deluded.

David was a shepherd boy. He spent hours in the field, probably alone, looking after sheep and protecting them from bears and lions. This was David’s training ground with God. He spent hours getting to know the voice of God in the quiet of the field – in the surroundings of his training ground. David wasn’t just being super-spiritual, sitting on rocks playing his harp and singing and writing psalms all day; his training was practical.

Imagine David, on his own, lining coke cans up on a fence and shooting them, one-by-one, with his slingshot; his accuracy improving with every stone. When every can had been knocked off, he’d run over to the fence, line the cans up, pick up five new stones and start over again.

Imagine then, the day a lion or bear came looking for a sheepy-snack. David takes another stone and fires… he’s on target because of the coke cans.

Imagine again, the day a Giant Man arrogantly challenges God’s people…

David takes five stones… he knows from experience which ones fly better, faster, truer, so he picks the smooth ones… he looks at the warrior and as he does he begins to go through a routine he’s practised hundreds and thousands of times before… he loads the stone effortlessly… he takes aim perfectly… he fires precisely… he’s confident the stone will hit exactly where he wants it to because of the practice he’s had in the sheep field (he’s confident but he’s not cocky, remember, he’s still got four stones left as back up and I’m guessing he probably had the second stone loaded, just in case, before Goliath even hit the floor)

My coke cans have been a visual reminder for me that college was my training ground. I have no doubt that God was with David during his battle with Goliath, but I also reckon God was with David while he was in the field shooting coke cans; Preparing him. Sharpening him. Inspiring him to better himself. Firming up good habits. Developing skills that would seriously come in handy later.

I don’t know if or when I’ll face my giant(s).

But what I do know, is that my time at college has been the training ground God has used to prepare me for it – I’ve spent valuable time ‘shooting coke cans’.


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