There have been countless books and articles written about leadership and the need to set specific goals. It’s been said that without goals there can be no achievement – so we’re encouraged to make a detailed list of everything we want, from professional achievements to material acquisitions to church offerings and attendance. The problem with this way of thinking is that it often gets us focused on the wrong thing. Now I’m not saying that goals are wrong _ what I am saying is that we become successful not only by eyeing the destination, but also by tending to the details of the journey.
One reason goals shouldn’t be defined merely by the target is because the target can’t be controlled. Targets tend to move when you least expect it and that’s why goals are often missed. But even though we may not be able to control the target _ we can control the process _ the steps we take to achieve the goal.
Let me show you what I mean: A salesman on commission can’t control his income, but he can control how many calls he makes and how well he knows his product and how well he makes the presentation and how well he listens to the customer. An athlete can’t control the final score, but she can control how well she listens to the coach, how hard she trains, how she gets ready for the game and how hard she plays. Parents can’t control the decisions their grown children make, but they can control the amount of time, love, patience, and prayer they pour into their children’s lives. We can’t control the results of our ministry but we can control what we put into it _ the amount of time, the type of effort, the quality of work, the amount of prayer we pray, how much time we spend hanging out with God.
Theologian Henri Nouwen summed it up this way: “We cannot make it rain, but we can see to it that the rain falls on prepared soil.” So whatever endeavor we are taking on our job is to get the soil ready _ the rest is up to God. The Apostle Paul gave Timothy the key to spiritual success: “If you keep yourself pure, you will be a utensil God can use for his purpose. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21)
We need leaders in our homes, in our schools, in our workplaces, and especially in our church whose goal is to do great things for the glory of God. That means that we need leaders who are focused on what they give, not what they get _ leaders who are willing to serve without recognition when necessary, who are willing to sacrifice and pay the price when necessary, and who are willing to put the needs of others first. My prayer is that God will fill us all with a desire to be that kind of leader.