Now that the new year is in full swing, how are you coming on your annual goals? If someone asked you why those were your priorities, what would you say?
If it weren’t for a nice gut check from God at the end of last year, my “good” goals for 2017 would have had all the wrong motives. Thankfully, God reminded me of a very important truth I learned from a wise colleague, but had since forgotten.
Last year, I scheduled a 15-minute meeting with one of the owners of our company to ask him some questions. Our conversation led to establishing a new foundation for living my life. I didn’t plan it like this, but God has a strange way of working things for his good and in his timing.
Since that conversation, God has reminded me multiple times of what my colleague shared in that meeting, which is that there is no such thing as priorities, there is only priority.
Family, friends, giving, goals, career objectives, all of these are important, but they pale in comparison to God. In fact, Matthew 6:33 sums it up succinctly:
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
This verse is a game changer if you really think about it. No matter what goal you have, no matter what you are doing, no matter what opportunity is coming your way, if you are doing it just to better yourself, you need to stop and do an honest self-assessment.
Everything we do can be filtered through this one verse. If we are “the why” behind our goals, we need to change some things.
Looking at my 2017 priorities through the filter of this verse, I noticed a problem. This year’s goals were to have more of an impact on my company, make more money, lose weight, and a few others. All things considered, they are appropriate and great goals, but the focus was only on me.
When I reevaluated and applied Matthew 6:33, I shifted the focus. Instead of it just being about me, I realized I need to see how I can best help the company grow, reach its objectives, and assist in the daily operations to help coworkers better accomplish their tasks.
When it came to the goal of losing weight, I realized my goal shouldn’t be about a number, but about being physically fit to be able to do whatever, whenever, with my kids.
If my focus is on God’s kingdom and serving those around me like Jesus did, the money, increased responsibility, and health will likely follow.
Stephen Mansfield writes about goals in his book, The Search for God and Guinness:
We tend to think short term. We tend to expect each generation to start from the beginning and then rise on its own.
This is me. This is us. This is our outlook when our goals are focused on us. He then goes on to say,
Perhaps…we learn again to build for centuries rather than decades and that we do so selflessly, knowing that the measure of our lives is not determined at our death, but rather in the lives and accomplishments of generations to come.
This mindset of living in terms of generations to come perfectly encapsulates Matthew 6:33. When we think of serving those around us and even those who will come after us, we’ve shed the “me” focus, we’re looking beyond ourselves, and our goals have actual meaning. It allows us to really put our faith in this verse and trust that as we seek God and his kingdom first, his blessings and what we need will be added to us.