January 3, 2007 Edition

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The List

By Matt Mosler
Guest Writer

Have you made your list? Have you written down your goals for this upcoming year? If not, take some time right now, really think about it and write down at least 10 things you'd like to accomplish in 2007. If you can't come up with 10, write down eight or six or five but put them down on paper. Go ahead, do it now; I'll be here when you get back.

There, that wasn't so bad now, was it? I'm sorry to have to push you like that, but you'll thank me later. See, there's just something powerful about writing out your goals, kind of sets the tone for the whole year. Of course, it's also kind of fun to look back in December at where you thought your year would go and where it actually went. I mean "who da thunk" I'd be working in television again when this year started?

Now, let's take a look at your list. You want to lose weight. You want to make more money. You want to quit smoking. You want to grow closer to Christ. But how serious are you about achieving those goals?

A few weeks back I was sitting in a duck lodge with some friends, and we were each talking about how fat we were. Each of us had surpassed that magical age of 40 and had begun to thicken up like good gravy. One by one we proclaimed that by this time next year we would be in better shape.

Of course we made those proclamations after polishing off a heaping plate of food, sodas and, of course, dessert. Now, I believe each of us that night was sincere in our desire to be slimmer. We just weren't willing to do what it takes to bring that desire to pass. Just as you can't just climb off your sofa and run a marathon, neither can you achieve your goals, even spiritual goals, without some effort.

Jesus says in Matthew 13:44-46 that: "The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. Again the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it."

One guy stumbled upon the treasure; one guy was seeking it. But both reacted the same way when the treasure was discovered. What was it? Well, they gave away everything they had to attain the treasure. They gave away that which was most important to them and in return they got something so much better ... they got the treasure, the kingdom of heaven. But it cost them everything, not 10%, not one hour on Sunday morning ... everything.

Are you willing to do what it takes to achieve your goals? Are you willing to give away all that you think is important in exchange for the treasure? See, unless you're sold out to achieving your goals you'll never get there. Look at the lives of people who've achieved what we call greatness. Be they actors, athletes, businessmen, authors or missionaries, the formula is always the same: vision, discipline and sacrifice.

So let's take out that list again. Is the number one thing on your list worth the sacrifice of all the rest? If not, you'll never get there. If so, will achieving that goal really bring you what your heart desires?

See, losing weight is important. Quitting smoking is important. Cleaning up your life is important. But it won't satisfy. The Bible says, "Bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come!" (I Tim. 4:8) That body of yours is just a shell, and polishing the shell, though important, should never become your obsession. Taking care of what's inside the shell should be your top priority.

So, where is pursuing godliness on your list? I think you'll discover ... it's worth the sacrifice.

(Matt Mosler is the director of Beautiful Feet Ministries. Contact him at matt@mattmosler.com)

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