As we start a New Year it is a good time to ask ourselves “What is my goal in this coming year?” Without a goal we will lack focus in 2011, but just having a goal is not enough, even if it is the laudable goal outlined in Philippians 3:14. We also need to consider how to achieve what we desire, and this may not be as obvious as it seems.
Over the holidays some of the Glyndley Manor team were having a gathering and decided to play Carpet Bowls, (an indoor version of Bowls - a traditional English summer sport.) You have probably seen people playing bowls. It is played on a grassy “green” by two teams of elderly people, who are usually all dressed in white. The idea of the game is to roll your bowl, called a “wood”, as close to the “jack”, a small white ball which is the target, at the other end of the green.
Now it would seem a simple issue to roll the wood toward the Jack especially so in the indoor carpet-sized version but the problem is the woods don’t run straight, they are much heavier on one side; they have a bias. Those who had never played before were very perturbed to find that if they tried to reach the goal directly by aiming for the jack the wood curved away. They had been given instruction and told about the bias in the bowl, but somehow their common-sense wouldn’t let them roll the wood at a sufficiently large angle to the straight as they had been told to. Even though the person teaching them knew best and gave good instructions, they insisted on trying to reach the goal in the obvious way and so failed.
It made me think of this verse about pressing on toward a goal. It seems to me that we sometimes press on to reach a good and desirable goal but do it with our own common sense understanding and then wonder why we fail to reach the target. We have a good teacher who tells us how to succeed but we sometimes still think we know better. Those well known verses in Proverbs 3:5-7 tell us that we shouldn’t lean on our own understanding and I guess that’s exactly what we are most inclined to do.
So as we start this New Year, 2011, not only should we decide what our goal is, but consider carefully how God wants to instruct us and teach us to reach our goal and then we will be successful.
Prayer: Father God at the start of this New Year we put before You our thoughts, our hopes and our goals. Our chief desire is to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of each of us. Teach us how to follow Your ways so that we will know an increasing measure of success. Amen.
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