Most Christians shy away from goals. The concept of setting goals sounds so mechanical and carnal. Recollections of “New Year’s resolutions” and attempts to change behavior come to mind and reawaken memories of bitter failure and frustration. We live our lives under the control of a sovereign God, so why do we need goals? We confess, and rightly so, that we have no inherent power to accomplish anything for God. So doesn’t that make goal setting wrong?
What may seem logical, and even spiritual at times, wilts before the truth of Scripture.
Paul had goals: he had goals for his spiritual life and for his service for God. The goals he set for himself spiritually are given to us in Philippians 3. He had before himself the “prize of the high calling,” and “that I might know Him.”
For his service, he mentions his desire to visit the saints in Rome (Rom 1:11), to visit the assemblies in Macedonia and Achaia (2Cor 1:16, 17), and Spain (Rom 15:24, 28). He also made it his goal to have a conscience “void of offense” toward both God and men (Acts 24:16).
Thus it appears that goal setting for a believer is not unscriptural or carnal. We should, as Paul did, subject all to the will of God; but goals themselves are good targets at which to aim.
For young believers, why not make a goal this year of studying several of Paul’s letters in depth and appreciating their wealth? How about a goal of getting even one friend out to hear the gospel? Another worthy goal would be to take an interest in some of the older believers, the shut-ins of the assembly, and to make a point of a once-a-month visit to encourage them.
What about goals for the family such as reading and praying with the children more consistently? Technology and the busyness of life intrude more and more into family life to the point that real commitment is needed to accomplish this.
Should assembly overseers have goals for the assembly? What truths need to be taught or re-emphasized? Are there believers with special needs? Are there needs which are not being addressed? Do we see problems looming on the horizon? Are we proactive or merely reactive? Are we firemen putting out fires, or facilitators encouraging fruit? Leadership will either lead to leanness or likeness in the sheep.
What about our responsibility with the gospel? Are we being faithful? Goals should include both evangelizing those within (the contacts and children of the believers), and outreach to the community and new areas. Yes, gospel work is difficult, and our secular society has marginalized God and spiritual things to the point that indifference is endemic. Yet we are called upon to be faithful.
Set your goals both personally, as a family, and as an assembly. If God interrupts and redirects, then follow His guidance. However, He cannot redirect those who are going nowhere!
One problem with giving out credits is that someone is always overlooked. Jim Clark Sr. deserves five stars for his monthly trip across the border to deliver the magazine to Canada so that they are mailed out efficiently and in a timely manner. Please excuse the oversight in not listing him in the December editorial.