Nate Smith, an 11-year-old Minnesota boy, walked on the ice for a shot at $50,000 if he could hit a hockey puck into a very small hole from 89 feet away. His father, Pat Smith, had bought a raffle ticket for the charity event that occurred on August 11th.
To the amazement of the crowd, including Nate himself, his wobbly shot went right through the 3.5-inch goal, which was barely wider than the puck. “I was shocked …I couldn’t believe it,” said Nate. $50,000! That could pay for Nate’s college education! But there was a problem…The name on the raffle ticket that was drawn was Nick Smith, Nate’s identical twin. Their father had only bought one raffle ticket and put down Nick’s name because Nate had only recently had a cast removed from his arm. But when Nick’s name was called, he was outside the arena. Pat Smith then encouraged Nate to take his brother’s place.
Event organizers weren’t aware of the “switch” until the next day. “The next day,” says their father, “I called back and said it was really Nate who made the shot. We thought honesty was the best policy, and we wanted to set a good example for our kids.” Whether or not the Smiths get the prize money is in the hands of the insurance carrier for the event. *
There are some valuable lessons that can be learned from the Smith’s experience…
We ALL “miss the mark.” This is the meaning of one of the Bible’s words for sin (Greek hamartia). Even though Nate made the shot, their family “missed the mark” by not divulging Nate’s true identity. The Scriptures teach that “ALL have sinned (Gr. hamartano, “missed the mark”) and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Sin “disqualifies” us from the heavenly, eternal reward and condemns us to death (Romans 6:23).
Honesty is the best policy. By acknowledging the fact that it was Nate who made the shot and not Nick, Pat Smith has taught his boys a lesson that is far more valuable than $50,000. Teaching them to acknowledge wrongdoing and to tell the truth – even if there is a “penalty” for doing it – is always the RIGHT thing to do, for this pleases the Father.
Even though ALL of us have “missed the mark,” God loves us and longs to forgive us so that we can live eternally with Him. He gave His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins and to give us eternal life (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7).
In order to accept His offer of salvation, we must acknowledge the fact that we have sinned. THEN…. we must place our faith and trust in Jesus and His sacrificial death on our behalf (Acts 16:30-31), turn from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess the name of Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16).
Let’s be honest: we have ALL “missed the mark” of the glory of God. Let us therefore trust and obey Christ so that we may reach the eternal goal of heaven. Won’t YOU?
—David A. Sargent
Minister; Church of Christ at Creekwood