We are constantly told that we need a "goal in life." For some people, that is an easy concept. They may have career goals that override everything. Some people have financial goals, and everything is subordinated to the dollars. Often we tell our kids that they can do anything if they try hard enough. However, after my first year in college, I found that what I had thought was appropriate career goal would require 25-hour days and giving up other things that I wanted to do. I had to rethink the whole subject of goals. What I finally came up with as an educational goal was to take as many opportunities as I could to learn as many things as I could about what interested me, with the idea that I would be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that came my way. What I found was that many of the things I had learned were just right for the place God plonked me.
Sometimes we have goals that are not healthy. We live in a culture that is rife with goals that grow out of pride, envy, revenge, laziness, greed, pleasure, all in the name of "freedom". There a several problems here: These are goals that are unattainable; they will always demand more. What kind of people will we be if we chase these goals? If we believe that we are accountable to God for what we have made of the life He has granted us, what will He see in us?
I was surprised to find that in my KJV Bible search program, the word "goal" was not found. What I did find is St Paul's goal for his life: "I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me--the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace." (Acts 20:24 NIV). And we find that Paul was confident that he had reached his goal: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." (2 Timothy 4:7)
I find that I have a variety of committments in my life; I don't know if I would call any of them "goals" in an ultimate sense. I believe that the Christian life requires that my personal goals be secondary to the obedience to God's goals for us. Thinking about St Paul's metaphor of a race set before us, a picture that came to mind was a race horse. The horse has a course in front of him, and he has to have the strength and desire to race. He has to be disciplined enough to stay on the track and do his best to deal with the challenges of the track. Ultimately, though, he has to submit to the instructions of his jockey, who is responsible for the winning strategy and final result.