There is something about goal setting that gets me fired up and excited. Maybe it’s the prospect of doing something awesome in the upcoming year, like running a marathon, or reading through the entire Bible, or finally writing that book I’ve been thinking about. Or maybe it’s the prospect of finally kicking those bad habits I have, like getting up too late, or regularly eating things that will probably shorten my life in the long run. I like to set big goals that will challenge me.
But in the last couple of years I’ve started to notice something about myself: Small goals coupled with faithfulness produce the biggest results.
One example: I don’t think I’ll ever run a marathon. I would like to, but I’ve got a bad knee and I don’t have the time required to train for a marathon. But, with God’s help, I can discipline myself to run for 20-25 minutes a couple of times per week. Another example: I have a hard time reading through the entire Bible in a year. I’ve done it, but it doesn’t work particularly well for me and my personality. But I can read the Bible and pray for 35-45 minutes most days before my day gets going. One last example: I don’t have hours and hours to spend working on a book or a song or any other creative project. But I can find 20-30 minutes a couple of times a week.
I’ve started to see that seeking to be faithful in these little areas has wonderful long term results. The more I run, the better I feel. The more consistently I read my Bible, the more I grow in my walk with God. The more I work on writing, the better I become. I’ve got two small children with one on the way, and I’m a pastor at a church. I don’t have huge amounts of time to dedicate to things. But I can be faithful, and God honors faithfulness, even to little things.
In Luke 16:10 Jesus said:
One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
In Proverbs 13:4 it says:
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
Over and over scripture emphasizes the value of diligence. God rewards diligence and faithfulness and hard work. We probably won’t see the results immediately, but over time we will. It’s like building a house. When you lay the first bricks, it doesn’t look anything like a house. But as you slowly and methodically work toward your goal, things begin to take shape.
So let me give you a few steps to take:
Okay, now it’s your turn. What little goals will you pursue this year?
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Stephen Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA, where his main duties include leading worship, preaching, and working with youth. He also has written a number of worship songs that have been included on Sovereign Grace Music albums. Stephen is the author of the book Game Day For the Glory of God: A Guide For Athletes, Fans, and Wannabes, published by Crossway Books in September 2008, and The Greener Grass Conspiracy: Finding Contentment on Your Side of the Fence, published by Crossway Books in April 2011. When not shining his dad’s shoes, you can find Stephen drinking coffee or playing video games.
Find out more when you visit his blog, The Blazing Center.