I'm not a huge fan of resolutions ~ New Year's or otherwise. But I wholeheartedly subscribe to the notion of setting goals & benchmarks. Without them, I've tended to navigate as if taking a road trip to a distant locale without a map. It may be a bit adventurous, but it's fairly certain I'll never reach a desired destination.
This year I hope to be more intentional about setting goals. It's harder to do now that I've reached the Ranks of the Retired, but it's no less important than it was when I wore a business cap & managed large objectives, dollars and people. Achieving those goals (or not) was the substance of what my superiors used to assess my performance. They were essential then; they're essential now. Besides, why would God advise us to number our days in order to gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12), if not to actually do something intentional with those numbers?
Lest I bore you into a hasty retreat, let me offer you a more relaxed exit right now. What follows will, no doubt, be of interest to me and me alone. But before you go, let me just encourage you set some goals of your own. They're sure to engender a love/hate reaction somewhere along the way, but I can think of no better way to get to where you want to go.
While the following verse emphatically establishes the cost of discipleship, it also does something else: It reminds me that everything worth doing entails both a plan and a price.
“... But don’t begin until you count the cost.
For who would begin without first
calculating the cost to see
if there is enough money to finish it?
Otherwise, you might complete only
the foundation before running out
of money, and then everyone
would laugh at you. They would say,
‘There’s the person who started
that building and couldn’t
afford to finish it!’
“Or what king would go to war against
another king without first
sitting down with his counselors
to discuss whether his army of 10,000
could defeat the 20,000 soldiers
marching against him?
And if he can’t, he will send a delegation
terms of peace while the enemy
is still far away.
(Luke 14:27-32 ESV)
It appears, in God's economy, that strategy-laying is very much a part of good stewardship.
So, for the record ~ my record ~ here are the key items I'd like to tackle in 2014. They are not necessarily in the order of importance, & I maintain the freedom to add to and/or alter them as the year unfolds.
The Goal: Take better care of my health & lose 10 pounds.
- Exercise more (walking 5 out of 7 days; gym/weights 3 out of 7 days).
- Eliminate most of the needless carbs from my eating habits.
The Goal: Affirm the value of family & friends.
- Finish scanning all my family photos, including those of my mother & father into digital form.
- Begin compiling a pictorial record of heritage for the family.
- Continue penning a tribute (book) to my parents to be passed onto my children & extended family.
- Continue to share home & hearth.
- Devote a minimum of 30 minutes per day in scripture meditation and prayer.
- Pick one new Bible-related subject per month to research, study & journal about.
The Goal: Serve others ~ humbly & unselfishly.
- Look for opportunities to serve other people without self-serving expectations (like getting noticed).
- Serve the community in which I reside (volunteerism).
The Goal: Value Time and God's Favor
- Intentionally seek to be productive, useful.
- Watch less T.V.
- Engage in less social media.
- Begin & end the day by counting blessings (i.e, opportunities, gains, losses, favor/open doors, protection/shut doors, answered prayer).
For physical training is of some value,
but godliness has value for all things,
holding promise for both the present life
and the life to come.
This is a trustworthy saying that deserves
That is why we labor and strive,
because we have put our hope in
the living God, who is the Savior of all people,
and especially of those who believe.
Command and teach these things... set an example
for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love,
in faith and in purity.
Until I come, devote yourself to the public
reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.
Be diligent in these matters;
give yourself wholly to them,
so that everyone may see your progress.
Watch your life and doctrine closely.
Persevere in them ...
1 Timothy 4:8-13, 15-16