I recently read an interesting book by Garry Kasparov titled How Life Imitates Chess. Kasparov won his first world-championship chess match in 1985 and he dominated the chess world for several decades. In the book he shares some of the lessons he learned. Here is one of them: “A Grandmaster makes the best moves because they are based on what he wants the board to look like ten or twenty moves in the future.”
That’s a great picture of what goal-setting is all about. It is making moves now based on what you want your life to look like ten or twenty years from now.
A few years ago I began working on my personal life goal list. It has certainly morphed over time. And it’s always in rough draft from because I keep adding new goals and tweaking old ones. But one of the common denominators amongst my 100+ life goals is that a lot of them cannot be accomplished for a long time. I can’t pay for my grandchildren’s education until we have grandchildren. Lord willing, I want to pastor one church for 35+ years. I want to write 25 books. I want to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. So I’m about three or four decades away from accomplishing some of those goals. But I’m setting goals now based on what I want my life to look like in thirty or forty years.
Let me come right out and say it: most people spend more time planning their summer vacation than they do planning their life. Instead of living by design we live by default. I certainly don’t want to over-spiritualize goal- setting because you can set goals that are absolutely unspiritual and you’d be better off spiritually if you didn’t accomplish them! But I also believe goals can be an expression of faith if you set them the way I’m going to prescribe.
I know there are lots of different personalities.
Some people are natural goal-setters and others aren’t. And I don’t think you need to set 100 life goals like me. But I’m convinced that one of the primary reasons most of us don’t accomplish more for the kingdom of God is because we don’t have any God-ordained goals we’re going after. And whether you’re a goal-setter or not, Hebrews 11:1 defines faith this way: Faith is being sure of what we hope for.
You know why most of us never get what we want? Because we don’t know what we want! We’re more sure of what we’re afraid of than what we’re hoping for! I’m convinced that one of the greatest shortcomings in most of our lives is that we don’t know what we want. We’re out of touch with our God-ordained dreams and desires.
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
The word perish refers to fruit that is past its prime. It is no longer ripening. It is rotting. Vision is a preservative. Goals keep us on the offensive. Goals keep us young. Let me say it this way: you start dying when you have nothing worth living for. You start living when you find something worth dying for.
Next week we dive into the 1st of 10 steps to setting life goals.