George Bowers Sr.: Parable of the powder

George Bowers Sr.

Firearms season for deer is finally here! While it’s not yet regular rifle season, muzzleloading weapons can be used through next Friday. I’ve already been out a few times but haven’t seen anything to shoot at except some raccoons and a turkey, all of which I passed up. But sitting in the tree stand watching squirrels and falling leaves gives me plenty of time to think.

One thing I’ve thought is that I can’t imagine fighting a war with muzzleloaders. After firing the first time, you have to measure the powder and pour it into the barrel, stuff a bullet on top of the powder, and shove it down with a ramrod. Finally, you have to use some sort of primer or flint in order to ignite the powder and send the bullet whizzing through the gun barrel toward its intended target. I’ve loaded my rifle plenty of times, but never with someone else shooting at me. The intensity and pressure of war had to have led to some pretty horrible self-inflicted wounds in muzzleloading battles.

With regular rifles, however, all that has changed. Smokeless powder is contained inside a brass casing with the bullet carefully seated in one end. Even the primer is securely enclosed in the base of the shell making for a complete cartridge. When the gun’s firing pin strikes the primer, the powder explodes, which sends the bullet on its way with incredible speed and velocity. As I sat and thought on these basics of firearms and ammunition, they reminded me of more important spiritual matters.

As human beings made in God’s image, we all have incredible potential that far surpasses that of any hunk of lead, but we are useless without something to spark, motivate and direct us. Without these our lives lack power and purpose and we could be compared to a bullet without primer, powder or barrel. Sadly, many people muddle through life failing to realize their great potential and function largely beneath their possibilities.

Accepting Jesus as our s5avior is the primer that sets all the rest in motion. Once we do that, the Holy Spirit inspires us and we have great explosiveness to move in mighty and powerful ways. With the limitless force of Almighty God, all things become possible for him or her who believes!

But one other thing is necessary to hit a desired target. We need direction. The lands and grooves that wrap around the interior of a rifle barrel cause the bullet to spiral like a football enabling it to stay on a straight trajectory for several hundred yards. This allows marksmen to nail tiny targets at great distances if their guns are sighted and aimed correctly.

The Bible provides that direction for us. God’s Word keeps our enthusiasm and power focused in the right direction. As the various teachings and doctrines of Scripture mold and shape us, they send us out to make a powerful difference for good. Our enthusiasm and force sparked by Christ and motivated by His Holy Spirit are channeled in specific directions where we can accomplish the most for God.

Ultimately, our loving and all-wise Father aims us in the directions He wishes us to move but unlike inanimate bullets, we have free will to either choose or reject His targets. My prayer is that we each might surrender ourselves to His aim, receive the motivation of His Spirit, and accept the guidance of His Holy Word as we go out into the world for Him. Blessed shooting, George

George Bowers Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of seven books including his latest book of poetry, Holy Verses.  He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at gabowers@shentel.net.