Setting Worthy Goals


Setting Worthy Goals

Receiving a Degree at Age 100!

Richard Hollerman

Today I read the news headline, “100-year-old woman dies the day after finally receiving her bachelor’s degree.”  The story told of a New England lady who reached her 100th birthday, then three weeks later she received her teaching certificate at Keene State College, and one day later she died.

The world tends to praise accomplishment.  They admire someone who formulates a plan, works the plan, and then achieves the goal of that plan.  They elevate such a person because of his or her knowledge, perseverance, and dedication to a predetermined goal.  In school, such a person is held high for the emulation of the students.  In the sports world, such a person is elevated so that others will try to break records to achieve their goals.

The questions that the Christian must ask are important: Is the goal that I have set a worthy one or an unworthy one?  Is it a wise one or is it not worth the trouble and expense?  Is it one that God would approve or would He disapprove?   Is there some other goal that should occupy our attention?

Not every goal is a worthy one.  Paul the apostle writes, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9).  Getting wealthy cannot be the Christian’s goal. 

Think of the many other goals that people have.  One may have a goal of getting married to a particular person—but is that person really a wise choice or not?  Another may have a goal of learning a sport well so as to achieve mastery and win over others.  Is this a worthy goal for the believer?  Still another person may have a goal of a certain profession, or traveling to a certain vacation place, or buying a luxury automobile.  One book had a title something like, “100 Places to See Before Your Die!”  Is it really a worthy goal to visit that many geographical locations in life?

People have had lofty goals in life and we would look back with dismay, remarking, “How utterly foolish for that person to have such a goal!”  Was it worthy for Hitler to have as his goal the complete eradication of the Jewish population on earth?  Was it worthy for Alexander to have the goal of conquering the civilized world in the fourth century before Christ?  Was it worthy for a person to train for and win a triathlon sports competition?  Was it worthy for a man to seek and win the opportunity to marry one of the many-married Hollywood figures, such as Elizabeth Taylor and others?

Besides some goals being plainly wrong and even sinful, one reason why these kinds of goals are wrong is because they crowd out those goals that we should be seeking.  Paul gives us his counsel regarding the perspective we should have in life.  He wrote, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). 

In another place, the apostle said, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).  Again, Paul wrote, “If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).  Goals are good—only if they are worthy, wise, and spiritual.  If we are seeking the things above, we just won’t have time to seek those things that are on earth!  These lower, unworthy, and earthly goals are unwise and even foolish—in light of eternity.

Do we really believe that everything will one day be burned up and destroyed (2 Peter 3:10-13)?  Do we agree with Scripture that our days are few and we will soon die (1 Peter 1:24)?  Do we believe that Jesus is coming back, with power and glory, in flaming fire, to pour out His wrath on those in sin and to receive His people to Himself (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)? 

If these things are true—and they are true—then this will radically change the kind of goals that we establish in life.  It will change the way we use our time, the way we use our money and possessions, and the relationships we develop. 

Think for a moment with me.  Suppose that you have been dead for ten minutes.  As you look back at your life, you realize that you cannot live it over.  What you did and said is now gone, never to be recalled.  Would you have any regrets on how you used your life?  From the perspective of eternity, would you have done anything differently?  Would you have had different goals and plans?  If you say Yes, why not do something now to change your earthly goals so that you won’t have regrets one day beyond your death!

Was it really a worthy goal for this 100-year-old woman to seek an education degree, one that she knew she would never use (her eyesight was nearly gone and she was in hospice)?  We’ll leave that to you to decide in light of what we have seen in God’s Word.  Would it not have been wiser for her to earnestly study God’s word, seek to understand and accept the good news of Christ Jesus, and make sure of her relationship with God? 

Surely it would have been best for her to devote every waking hour and every bit of energy to unlearn all of the wrong philosophies she must have picked up during her long life of one hundred years, and then to repent of her sins and embrace the Lord Jesus in faith, expressing this faith in baptism, that she might be assured of a Destiny that would be eternal!

Won’t you determine today to pursue only worthy and wise goals in life?  Apply yourself to the will of God, the gospel of God, the word of God, and the perfect ways of God.  Let that be your sincere goal that you may be assured of eternal life in His Kingdom!


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