Let's have a look at goals in life
Having a goal to aim at brings purpose to living. It can be immensely stimulating and often a worthwhile challenge to bring out the best in you. It will draw upon your energy, sharpen you mentally, bring focus to priorities, train you in self discipline and spare you from the trap of self pity. There is a real value in making sacrifices as an investment toward the success of the goals you plan to achieve.
Goals link us to others who we perhaps would never otherwise meet or team up with. By pooling team strengths a synergy kicks in achieving better goals than solo efforts. Much of life is about teamwork. Often doors of opportunity can open through contacts we make. Sometimes it is not what we know, but who we know.
During June, we remembered the huge contribution a large number of volunteers make in our community towards all sorts of goals. They work hard, are unpaid, yet commit enthusiastically to the goals they serve. They love doing what they do. Why? Because having a goal is stimulating, satisfying and socially strengthening, particularly if it helps others.
The Deficit Factor
Having no goals in life is worth some mention. The person with no goals has nothing to bring sparkle into their life. Aimless living is mere existence and affects many people. All to easily it can lead to self centredness, lazy tendencies, envy of the success of others, or self pity. Many side effects to lack of goals are not medical, they are pastoral.
The Most Important Goal
We have noted the benefits of having goals. The Bible gives the best advice on this. Paul the apostle drew attention to the difference between goals that are for the here and now and goals that are eternal.
The society of Paul's day was well acquainted with the Greek Olympic Games. Athletes trained, often for years to attain the winner's award. That was their goal. And the reward? The personal acclaim, the cheers of the spectators, the honour of winning and the victor's garland of laurel leaves. These soon withered. The rest of life still had to be lived. What then?
Paul referring to this, compared the two goals stating "everyone who competes for the prize exercises self control in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown" - 1 Corinthians 9:25. We may also note the words of our Lord Jesus, who referred to the two most important goals in life. The first commandment for any person is to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. The second is to love our neighbour as ourselves. Neighbour in Jesus' definition was helping those in need, if it was in our ability to do so. This can take many forms in life.
In terms of choosing goals we must not neglect the first goal "our personal relationship with God". So many achieve well with the second goal, but choose either by lack of understanding or by deliberate choice to ignore the first most essential goal in life.
Jesus spoke directly to this stating "what shall it profit a person if they gain the whole world and lost their own soul". There we have it. The consequences are eternal. So "God first" should be goal number one and the rest should glorify Him.
God's best be yours.
Graham A Cruickshank is a Senior Pastor at Life 4U Church, Whangarei