Players were flying everywhere. The fullback was plowing his way down the football field. Nothing was going to get in his way. As players started to move toward him, he extended his one free arm and just pushed them off. It was amazing. His goal was the end zone and he was bound and determined to get there. Ever seen a play like that? When it is your team making a play like that, then you are jumping up and down for joy – clapping your hands and screaming in happiness. Moments like that are awesome, right?
How about when it happens in life? Are you jumping up and down, screaming your lungs out and clapping your hands in joy when people stomp all over other people to get to their goal? It happens. I know that each of you have experienced it. It doesn’t feel good, yet people do it all the time. Even I have set my eyes on a goal and forgotten about all the other people who I trample on and push away just so I can say that I have accomplished my mission.
In the bible, can you think of a time that Jesus shoved others out of the way to get his message out there? Can you think of a time that Jesus manipulated and twisted the truth just so people would follow Him and live out God’s message? Hmm…I am having a hard time thinking of one instance. So, why do we do it?
This brings me back to Joanna Weaver’s book –“ Having a Mary Spirit in a Martha World,” she says, “Life is not fair. People will hurt you. You won’t understand why.” This happens because we are selfish people. Goal setting can be good, but it also can hurt others, and we must be on the lookout for selfish desires.
In my teenage bible study group, we started talking about selfish behavior. Most of society will tell you that teenage years are selfish years, and that for the most part is true. Yet as adults, we fail to see our own selfish desires. We are so busy pointing fingers at others that we cannot see our own failings. Goal setting driven by a selfish desire for success is dangerous.
“Success at all costs. Becoming a legend in one’s own mind. Climbing the ladder to the top. King of the mountain. Top of the heap. I did it my way.” Max Lucado in his book “God Came Near” reflects on blind ambition.
You see when we set our sights on our goals and only look at the goal, then we are leaving God on the sideline. God wants nothing to do with the spotlight. He doesn’t have sides or teams or favorites. He loves us all, so why would he allow one of us to pummel down the rest of us, just to succeed? He wouldn’t.
God’s goals must be our goals. Success must look like God wants it to look. Trust me when I say that success will appear very odd to many of us. Sometimes success in God’s eyes is just us trying. Stepping out in trust, hand and hand with Him, trying to accomplish a goal that will highlight His message. It will make you uncomfortable. You will squirm. It will be different than what society says is successful. Ultimately, you may not be liked by many in this success driven world.
Mother Teresa is quoted as saying, “God doesn’t require you to succeed; He only requires that you try.”
So how can God’s message possibly be revealed in everything we do and say? It can. Look at the football example above. If the player finishes and pats himself on the back – I would venture to say that his goal had nothing to do with God. Ahh, but if he makes the touchdown, and immediately goes over to congratulate his team mates for their magnificent blocking and tells the coach thanks for the awesome play calling and recognizes that the goal was accomplished by everyone – God’s message is revealed.
We have to place trust in God and others that they will help us accomplish our goals. When we hoard away our goals for our selfish pats on the backs, then we are not spreading God’s message. Trust, humility, service, work, determination, prayer, and faith in God are the only true ways to accomplish our goal here on earth. Remember the goal – to spread God’s message here and to live with Him in Eternity.