How will we define ourselves?
Last month I wrote about the marathon I had trained for all summer. I ran the marathon September 14 with my son, Nathan, and daughters, Jessica and Bethany, and beat my goal time of four hours by almost four minutes. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the event and the challenge. I never felt awful, but I did feel a little light-headed after it was all over as we waited at the finish line. The legs were quite sore for a couple of days.
After the race on the drive home, Pam shared a quote from President George H.W. Bush about his first marathon: “I learned that running can make you feel 10 years younger the day of the race and 10 years older the day after the race.” His words were confirmed when we stopped at Casey’s and my 20-something progeny were hobbling up the curve like their knees wouldn’t bend.
The month before race day most of the people in our family were looking forward to having this experience crossed off the bucket list. They were reflecting on all the time they would reclaim. However, I found myself feeling a little sad that this season would soon be over. Goals that we really pursue give us direction and motivation. They focus our energy toward change. When the goals are achieved or given up on that direction is gone.
Now I find myself killing time looking at future marathons or calculating my needed improvement to qualify for the Boston Marathon, a quantum leap. I am looking for my next goal. Going after goals is not wrong. However, we must weigh what difference achieving the goals we choose will make. Any goal will take time, money, and energy. The goal will take time away from important relationships or give time to them. The goals a person chooses to pursue over time define the person they become. Likewise, the goals that an organization pursues will eventually define that organization.
In 2018 we set a goal as a congregation to define a discipleship process. The process we decided on was
1) Connect 2) Grow 3) Serve 4) Go. In 2019 we set a related goal to implement that process in the ministries and people of our church. We have been working at it. The path has not been as straightforward as the marathon training nor the implementation as clear as running a race. Though not a straight path toward the finish, we are making progress. Over the next several weeks we will be preaching through the components of this process. You will be challenged to set some goals for yourself to follow Jesus...further! Your choice to set challenging goals in these areas and pursue them will define you as a Jesus follower.
1 Timothy 4:8 (NIV2011)
“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.”