I was reluctant to read Think and Grow Rich, because it sounded like a lesson is self-centeredness, but it was on the suggested reading list of some respected authors. Written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, it describes how an individual with desire, faith and persistence can reach great heights by eliminating negative energy and thoughts and focusing on the greater goals at hand.
I’ve set short term goals, business goals, financial goals and the sort before. Occasionally (not as often as I should) I review them to check progress and get back on track. But when I reach one, then what? Set the next goal in any direction that seemed important to me, my employer, my family, or our culture? Where were all these achievements supposed to take me? I had never set a course that would align all the short term goals toward what will be most important for me to have attained when my life is complete. As a result, without knowing the final target, the goals I’d made were disconnected, simply zig zagging me through life. Now, when I set out to accomplish something, I need to confirm that it aligns with my life purpose of loving God and loving others. Where I’m going and what I’m achieving is important, but what is most significant is who I am becoming as a result of chasing each objective.
“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer
Jesus identified our purpose when he was asked, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” If I accomplish a personal goal but in doing so fail to love God and others, I’ve wasted my allotted time and energy.
Like any goal, my life goal won’t happen without focused effort on my part. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” so if makes sense that I would make studying them a priority. In my currently study of the prophet Daniel, it is apparent that he had set a life goal by determining to love and honor God. The king of Babylon conquered Judah, and Daniel was among the Israelites captured. The king ordered his chief official to select some of the captives from the “royal family and nobility – young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace.” David fit the description, so along with others, he was taught the language and literature of the Babylonians. They were given new names and offered choice food and wine from the king’s table. They were then assigned three years of “training” (more like brainwashing) for the king’s service. But the Bible says that Daniel and three other captives resolved to remain true to God. It is a beautiful example of what it looks like to have a predetermined goal which you commit to living your life by – no matter what.
Having a life focused on honoring God did not spare Daniel and his faithful friends from trials, the likes of which I hope to never experience. But with their hearts and souls and strength and minds resolved to love God, each ordeal only deepened their faith. As they came through each trial they praised God for his faithfulness. They were more focused on their preset goal, knowing this world was not their final destination. They were living for God, in anticipation of hearing him speak the words, “Well done.”