The concept of The Last Arrow came to me when I was reflecting on a story from the life of the prophet Elisha in the Hebrew Scriptures. In this story, Jehoash is the king of Israel in the midst of a massive war, and he seeks the wisdom and counsel of Elisha in how to win against the armies of Judah.
Elisha tells Jehoash to ‘get a bow and some arrows’ and then to ‘take the bow in [his] hands.’ After commanding Jehoash to shoot one of the arrows out of the east-facing window, he declares that Jehoash will have victory in battle. But then Elisha asks him to take the remaining arrows and ‘strike the ground.’
Jehoash strikes the ground three times before he stops and, quite unexpectedly, Elisha grows angry with him. ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.’ And that is where the story ends.
Jehoash began with the promise of a complete victory and afterward found himself the recipient of much less. And it all centers around one decision: he struck the ground three times and then stopped. To put it another way, he quit. For Elisha, Jehoash striking the arrow was connected to his ability to receive the full measure of God’s intention for him, and when he quit the victory was lost.
It makes me wonder how many times in my own life I thought I failed, but actually the only thing that happened was that I quit. When you come to the end of your life, will you be able to say, “I gave everything I had,” or will you have a hollow feeling inside of your soul that you quit too soon, that you expected too little, that you did not strike the last arrow? Make the commitment to not stop before you are finished, because you are truly stopping before God is finished.
Are there areas in your life where you too easily give up? Can you identify patterns in your past where you thought you failed when you actually quit? What makes you want to be a person who lives their life fully alive and dies with their quiver empty?