Not long ago, I was driving to church to meet up with my pastor. There are two ways to church, and I took the route my girlfriend and I (which today is our five year anniversary! I love her so much.) usually do not take. Still, we end up driving that way about 30-40% of the time on Sundays.
As I was getting closer to church, I started becoming uncomfortable. I was seeing a lot of things I didn’t recognize. The drive felt longer than any Sunday did, but my unease turned to curious wonder as I passed by beautiful farms, lush forests, and little league baseball parks. There was a lot of neat things on the way there. Was I going the wrong way? No, I remembered the intersection well from the past. How could I miss all these sights?
Then I realized: I was in no hurry to get to church, unlike most Sundays (confession..?). Since I’m too busy trying to get to church, I never stopped to look at all the other things that accompanied me the way there. All the pleasant places and fingerprints of God on this road had been absent in my mind for the past few years as I strove to get to church each week. It’s a little sad, really.
It didn’t take long at all for me to relate this small lesson back to goals. Goals have an endpoint. Goals are almost always good, and success is often determined on whether we reach our goals or not. Ministry, work, you name it. We need goals to move forward. However, as my story revealed, we can easily miss out on all the important events that effect our journey as we push toward our destination. For me, my goal here was to get to church each week, and I never stopped to realize the nature around me on the way there to put me into a relaxed mood of worship. To romance me, God-style.
In whatever venue of life, as Christians pull through to bring the Kingdom to more people each day, we can’t neglect the people and places God puts in our lives to help get us where He wants. I firmly believe that’s a reason why Paul references so many different Christians throughout his letters. People like Paul are important, but he never disparaged the people behind the scenes of the early church, the ones whose names aren’t found in Scripture (this is easily seen in books where he praises or talks to a congregation, as in Philippians or Acts 20:17-38). He knew how important they were and saw how many had helped him on his missionary journeys. Like Paul, we can’t afford to forget our friends and family. Often times we get so focused on our goals and results that we forget what God has provided so we can continue moving for Him. We might even forget Him altogether. What’s the point of putting pictures up in your house if you never look at them?
Make sure you have goals. As you grow to meet your goals, God is going to do some really cool stuff in your life. Don’t make your goals your idol. Cherish where God takes you along the way, and cherish the people you meet along the way.
Do you have any big goals in your life? Any dangerous ones where you got too focused on the end and never appreciated the journey?