concentrate your effort

by Pastor Mark Jordan 8cf136b7b8c57392274f8b1ab604cef4-scripture-verses-bible-scriptures

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” (Proverbs 16:3, NRSV)

This week we are going to explore five steps for setting goals in this New Year. This comes on the heels of looking at some spiritual components of discipleship last week so we can get a realistic grasp as to how we will set goals in order to accomplish them and not be back to business as usual. Studies show that 66% of people abandon their resolutions within the first month, so as we look at goal setting, we are doing so to set ourselves up for success.

The first step in goal setting is to concentrate your effort. By this, I mean to focus on a manageable number of goals so you can provide the necessary mental energy to achieve them. One to three goals is a good target. It might seem like a small number, but they will fit on a note card or post-it note and be easy to internalize. If you have, say ten goals, you can easy lose sight of what you planned. Also, having three or so allows you to prioritize them in a way that is easy to track, but more on that later.

Today’s Bible verse tells you to commit our work to the Lord and your plans will be established. The verb, to commit, in Hebrew literally means, to roll. The idea is that we completely give something over to God in dependence upon Him. When we “commit” our work to the Lord, we offer everything we do completely to Him. The Hebrew also reveals the idea that we commit our work to the Lord in order that our plans will be established. We must do the first part if we expect God to fulfill the second part.

What goals might God be asking or nudging you to set this year? To pray more? Participate more? Give more? Serve more? Speak more about what God is doing in your life? When you give all you have and are to God, He will make your goals possible. Unfortunately, we all-to-often expect God to bless our plans without any consideration of the effort in giving them to Him. When you commit your work to God, though, He blesses your plans. This might seem backwards to our natural inclinations, but it is God’s way.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for urging me to set goals and give my work to you. Forgive me for the times I ask you to bless my plans before I exert any effort. As I look at setting goals this New Year, help me to serve you before seeking that blessing. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.