Martin Copenhaver: Aim Low

"I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 3:14

When I started my ministry at First Congregational Church (UCC), in Burlington, Vermont, a church member took me for a tour. One stop was the unfinished basement under the sanctuary. It had a dirt floor and the particular mustiness that results from a combination of dampness and time. Mostly it was a storage room for old church school furniture, boxes of outdated hymnals and other items that were no longer of use, but no one wanted to throw away.

Then I noticed an enormous metal sign that read, "Aim Low." It was placed just under where the pulpit is in the sanctuary above. I couldn't imagine what the sign meant-although I was relatively certain that it was not left over from a stewardship campaign.

When I asked my guide, he paused for a moment (as Vermonters are wont to do) and said, "Well... The church used to have a Rifle Club. This was their firing range."

Suddenly, I was grateful for the sign (and grateful that the church no longer had a Rifle Club).

But if such a sign belongs in a church, it belongs in the basement. We should not aim low. We need to aim high.

Sometimes we are too tolerant of mediocrity in the church. We rightly want to be accepting of people but then slip into thinking that any effort-no matter how sloppy or half-hearted-is also acceptable because it happens in a church.

Paul challenges us to heed the "upward call" of God. He could have said, "Aim high." 


Help me to respond to your "upward call"-doing my very best, and relying on you to forgive when I fall short.


From UCC's StillSpeaking Devotionals.Visit