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Monday, March 5, 2012

Just Thinking: It’s Not My Goal


Our Sunday morning Bible study is currently in Genesis 15, the story of Abram/Abraham. If you’re not familiar with it, the short version is that Abram, who God later renames Abraham, becomes the father of the Hebrew nation.

All through my schooling and career, teachers and trainers and bosses encouraged me to set goals. A person couldn’t go through life without setting goals. How could you achieve success without having a goal?

What’s a goal? In football, it’s the end zone—but it’s not usually the end of the game, is it? In soccer, it’s the goal—but if you achieve a goal, it’s not the end of the game, either. In baseball, it’s a combination—leaving and returning home without going out—now, if that’s not a conundrum, I don’t know what is! For astronauts, it’s reaching the stars. For actors, it’s becoming a star. But what then?

For a long time, I thought there must be something wrong with me. I couldn’t define a goal for my life. When I was a student, my aim was getting this assignment done successfully and receiving a new assignment. Graduation happened, but it wasn’t the goal, it was a tool. When I started in my career in contract administration, my goal wasn’t becoming the highest-paid person in the office—it was successfully completing one assignment and receiving another.

It took me a lifetime to discover my goal wasn’t the end but the journey. My goal in Christianity, then, is not the goal of achieving this status or that one, it’s to honor God with my day-to-day activities and to help as many others along the way as I can. My goal in writing is not to become published, it’s to write this item and continue to the next.

It’s the journey, like Abraham’s life. His life consisted of one journey after another. He journeyed from Ur to Haran to Canaan to Egypt and back to Canaan with who knows how many other journeys from here to there and back again. God promised that He would bless all the nations of the earth through Abraham.

And He did, didn’t He? But not in Abraham’s lifetime. Wow, what a responsibility! Think about it—if God promised you that, what would your goal be? Not just to produce an offspring, but to raise that offspring to worship God in such a way that his offspring would also worship God—and so forth down through the generations.

Again—the goal would not be having a child. It would be the journey of raising the child. Praying for the child. Providing for physical and emotional needs of the child. And while you’re at it, teaching the child to do the same for others. The goal isn’t accomplished at the birth, it’s just beginning.

How do you know when you’ve arrived? Um—when you see the pearly gates? I don’t know how else you could "arrive." Every other goal achieved is just the beginning of another journey.

Come to think of it, walking through the gates into Heaven will be … you guessed it. The beginning of another journey.