26 Apr A Worthy Goal
It’s that time of year again. The spring pollen has covered everything in sight, bees are humming about, and the sun is burning my sweater-free arms as I sit outside with my child.
I’m holding a giant book, and we are cramming for end-of-year testing. As a homeschooling mama, these next two weeks are adding up to the moment I have been helping my kids prepare for since August. Everything we’ve been studying has built up to this long and challenging oral recitation. The inherent pressure is thick but my oldest wants this accomplishment so badly, he can taste it.
His goal is both worthy and attainable; but not without a great deal of sacrifice. As the body of information he will be tested on has grown over the year, it has ultimately found its place in these final days as the only scholastic focus we have. Now, before you call the Board, I’ll explain that this exam covers seven critical subjects—we aren’t skimping school. But we have had to count the rest as loss—he artsy afternoons, the history expansions, the science demos, the cozy stories, all the fun stuff. These final days are about that test, and the rest has been heaved aside.
Maybe you aren’t a quirky homeschooling mama, but I would venture to guess that if you are reading this, you have put your life on hold at some point or another to attain a big goal. It started out as an idea, you might have needed to practice, a routine might have developed, it steadily grew larger and more complicated, finally culminating in an all-out consumption of your devotions in which everything else took a backseat. Maybe the sacrifices were in other areas of your work, in your friendships, or even in your family. Perhaps there was hurt along the way.
“I would venture to guess that if you are reading this, you have put your life on hold at some point or another to attain a big goal.”
Philippians 3:8 gives us insight into an eternal goal, attained in the same way.
“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him.”
I am personally challenged this week as I read these words. How diligently I have set my life aside in these final days to help my child attain this good, yet worldly goal. Thinking back to other goals I’ve accomplished in different seasons, how different would my life look if I worked just as hard and was just as focused on attaining Christ?
Much like other goals, it would start with this idea–that I crave righteousness and that it is attained only through faith. It would be put into practice by opening the Word, working to build and fight for that quiet space in my day to spend with Christ. It would become a routine as the small faith-filled moments become greater parts of me. It would crescendo as the Spirit overflows into every area of my heart and every area of my life. With a vision and a purpose, I would find so many things unworthy of my time or energy. I would be consumed by the temporal reality of life and all unworthy things would be cast aside as fluff. Dirt. Garbage. Loss. All the while, being found in Him and experiencing the fullness of righteousness.
“Thinking back to other goals I’ve accomplished in different seasons, how different would my life look if I worked just as hard and was just as focused on attaining Christ?”
I’m totally not there. But in the next verse Paul states that he has not yet attained this goal either! However, he presses on and urges us to work to attain this same eternal goal.
It will cost us something, maybe many somethings. Things will be thrown away. Pleasures foregone. But we have worked for big things! And have even accomplished some alone. How much more of ourselves could we give to this worthy goal with the Spirit within us?
And how fittingly small that test now seems.