Being a goal-oriented person, I understand that performance matters. What benefit does it bring to a situation if all that is really going on is mere talk? In most situations where a committee is involved, my experience has shown that there is too much discussion and not enough getting things done.
However, try telling your boss, or those who follow your leadership, or your investors when you missed your organization’s goals that results don’t really matter. You might as well turn in your 2 – week notice at the same time.
Achieving results is about initially having a vision and then with laser-like focus working to meet that goal. It’s a destination you want to reach and work for.
But two key questions are “Do we have the right focus in mind?” and “What is our response when we achieve our goals?”
The context of this post today comes from my recent reading in 1 Chronicles 21 where I read that King David gave way to Satan’s temptation to carry out a census of the people. It appears that the root of this temptation for David was pride. After defeating many opposing nations, David seemed invincible and his wealth and fame continued to skyrocket. This is where the problem of success happened for David. Similar to the pride demonstrated by a foreign king, years later, King Nebuchadnezzar in the Book of Daniel, chapter 4 as he reflected on his kingdom, (“30 As he looked out across the city, he said, ‘Look at this great city of Babylon! By my own mighty power, I have built this beautiful city as my royal residence to display my majestic splendor.’), David too, took pride in all his success.
Hear me out on this: while David, earlier in his life, was concentrating on the process of his obedience to God, depending on Him for all his decisions and looking to honor Him in everything he did, things went well. However, when David paused to reflect on all his success, it was though he got off on a highway exit that brought judgment from God. When David camped out on thinking about all his success, he succumbed to Satan’s deception and rather than acknowledging all of God’s favor and praising Him for it, David patted himself on the back and thought about what a great king he was. For David to request that a census be taken was just a further effort to puff himself up for seeing tangible numbers on how vast his kingdom had become.
We too, can do that — can’t we?
Pastor and church leader, have you ever just stopped and looked at the number of people in your congregation and patted yourself on the back for your great leadership?
Business owner, have you ever walked through your office and patted yourself on the back for how many employees you have and how successful your bottom line is?
Individual, have you ever stopped to look at your latest 401K balance and marveled at how much money you have and patted yourself on the back for what a wise investor you are?
Friends, let us be careful with this very subject of results and drive. Again, I get it that results matter. I am not naïve in thinking they don’t. But what I’m getting at is that I think there is a better way to get and handle results than we see demonstrated by King David in this particular situation. I believe this better way is for us to concentrate on our efforts, the process, if you will, and then leave the results and recognition to God.
For example, take an issue like getting a driver’s license–that is, the goal. But what gets us to accomplish that result is not wishful thinking or mere talk– it’s doing certain things like reading and understanding the rules of the road. Getting a license also requires having a certain amount of supervised hours behind the wheel and getting actual experience. In that process, it means being focused on doing things well. It means reducing distractions while you are driving and completing the practice hours so you LEARN how to drive well.
After you do all these things, you should accomplish the goal of getting your license. But, at the risk of getting into a future accident, don’t ever lose sight of what helped you initially get your license in the first place; it was having an opportunity to do so in the first place, it was getting instruction from others, it was learning to excel in the process of being a good driver.
Besides this example of getting our license, I could have also mentioned other examples, like getting a certain job position, reaching a financial retirement number, getting to a certain weight goal, or achieving certain sales goals. The result or goal gives us a vision for where we are needing to head, but I believe our focus should be on excelling at our responsibilities in the process of accomplishing these things.
And when that time comes when we reach a destination point, how should we handle meeting that goal? I believe our first attitude and action should be that of being grateful to God and others for their contributions in our life. Towards God, we should be thankful for His goodness in helping us have the opportunity to be involved in reaching this goal. We should be grateful for our health, the physical and mental abilities to work at the task. We should also be appreciative for the help and contributions from others in supporting us in numerous ways.
With all that said, where does personal pride come in? Displaying personal pride is a distasteful thing to others, and an offensive thing to God. Patting our self on the back and telling our self we are great is the last place we want to go to. As the Bible so clearly tells us: “don’t think more highly of yourself than you ought”
Meeting a goal and accomplishing a certain result is not though a destination, but merely a rest stop to see where you are, and then to chart out what more needs to be done. As 1 Thessalonians 4:1 and verse 10 tell us, “excel still more”. You can always learn more and do things better. That is the process. That should be our focus. Let’s be faithful in doing our part, and leaving the results (and honor) to God.
As a further help to you in striving for excellence in all your own individual areas of responsibility, please check out my Foundations Life Management app (and do it with a friend):
(If you have downloaded the app and are using it, I would so appreciate you telling a friend (s) about it.)
You can visit either the App Store (for IPhones) Foundations Life Management app for IPhone devices
or go to the Google Play Store- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.FoundationsLifeCoach.Foundations&hl=en