People only accomplish the goals they plan to accomplish. You probably have big plans to engage your community with the message of Jesus, but you need to back that vision up with tangible, written-down goals.
Genesis 24 and the story of Eliezer provide a great model for us in developing and pursuing goals. Last week, I shared with you five steps to Eliezer’s goal-setting strategy. Here are five more:
6. Diagnose the problems.
To identify the roadblocks and obstacles that often get in your way, ask yourself these two questions:
- Why don’t I have this already?
- What are the barriers?
Once you do, you’ll probably find several kinds of barriers holding you back.
Consider all the problems Eliezer faced going to a foreign country to get a wife for Isaac. He’s heading to a country where he has never been. He needs to find a woman he has never met. He must convince her to go and marry a total stranger. Then he must get her parents’ consent.
Eliezer faced many different problems. You’re likely facing a variety of barriers as well. It’s important to take note of them.
7. Design a plan.
Once you’ve identified the barriers in your way, you’ll need a course of action. Write down some specific steps, and set a deadline. Ask yourself these questions:
- How do I intend to get there?
- How long will it take?
Eliezer’s plan was a masterpiece. He lays it all out in Genesis 24:11-15. It’s basically a test that only a potential bride for Isaac would pass.
8. Discipline your personality.
We accomplish nothing great without personal discipline. The bottom line is always your character. While you are working on your goals, God is working on you. During the planning and goal-setting process, God will change you while you grow toward your goals.
I’ve said many times when speaking to pastors: “Growing churches require growing pastors.” That’s true in every area of our lives. Growing businesses require growing business people. Growing marriages require growing husbands and wives. The moment you stop growing, you die.
Eliezer shows personal discipline several times in the story. Notice how he patiently observed Rebekah before he initiated contact with her (verse 21). See how he waited to eat until he had the conversation he wanted to have with Rebekah’s family (verse 33). He even shows great time-management discipline by hurrying back to his master once he completed his objective (verse 56).
Eliezer is disciplining his personality. You’ll need to learn how to do that if you want to reach your goals. You must work on you as you work toward your goals.
9. Deposit the price.
Great goals require great sacrifices. I know many people who have big goals, but they only want to reach them if it’s convenient. That will never work.
Ask yourself three questions at this stage:
- What will it cost me?
- What am I willing to give?
- Is it worth it?
In Genesis 24:53, the Bible notes the price Eliezer paid to complete his goal: “Then the servant brought out gold and silver jewelry and articles of clothing and gave them to Rebekah; he also gave costly gifts to her brother and to her mother” (NIV).
Just like Eliezer, you’ll pay a price for reaching your goals. You need to know what that cost is and whether you’re willing to pay it before you get started.
10. Depend on people.
You will never achieve much in life until you learn to get along with others. You need to learn to depend on people because God works through people. It takes teamwork and cooperation to reach your goals. Success is never a one-person show. It’s always a joint effort.
Ask yourself at this stage: Who else can I involve?
Eliezer did everything he could to cooperate with Rebekah’s family. Read Genesis 24:49-51. He knew he needed their support, so he worked with the family.
The secret of a great church is commitment and unity. When there is commitment and cooperation, God can do tremendous work.
Successful leaders set goals they can reach. As you look to accomplish yours, you’d be wise to follow Eliezer’s example.