Have you observed when an archer shoots an arrow, he succeeds partly by pulling, partly by letting go? Both parts are necessary and it takes wisdom to know when to pull and when to let go. We can lift this simple principle to a higher level and apply it to our lives. When to pull … when to let go?

The Psalmist compares children to arrows when he said, “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man who hath his quiver full of them.”

Raising children requires wisdom to know when to pull and when to let go. Children do have to be guided in the right direction and sometimes guidance requires pulling. On the other hand, it is important to let go at times. Knowing when to do which requires wisdom.

Solomon tells us, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” and “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him”. So young children must be pulled in the right direction. To neglect training them can be disastrous, for Solomon tells us, “But a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame”.

However, we then need to know when to let go. No amount of pulling guarantees someone else will make good choices. Each of us must work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. God gave Adam and Eve, Cain and King Jotham the freedom to make their own decisions after being instructed, and they made all the wrong choices.

There is a third element in being a good archer and that is aiming at the target. We need to know when to pull, when to let go, and where we want the arrow to go. We must help our children set the proper goals in their lives so our pulling and letting go will help send them on the way to the Lord. As a result the “child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

Of course all we say about raising our children also applies to us. We have to admit that we have not always pulled enough, or let go at the right time, and certainly we have not always had our eye on the target so that all the pulling and letting go sends our arrows Zionward. We should follow the example of Paul who said, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.

Solomon told us that there is a time and place for all things. There is a time to pull. We will only achieve success if we are pulling. Jude tells us how we can help save others by, “pulling them out of the fire”. We need to pull our children, and ourselves, out of the fires of sin.

There is a time to let go. To hold on to the arrow and not ever release it accomplishes nothing. We must be willing to train up our children in the way of the Lord and then let them go. We need to pull ourselves away from the things of the flesh and then let go, using the energy we have built up by pulling, to send our arrows straight for the target.

Let us echo Paul’s thought when he said, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have appre­hended but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.