Focus Article – Putting First Things First (Sabbath Recorder 1/15)


The New Year is often a time that people reflect on the direction their life has been headed and look at their goals for the coming year. Establishing goals is an effective early step to accomplish the things that we feel are important. However, many times we do not give serious evaluation to the goals themselves.

For example: a merchant ship captain could determine that the coast of north Africa was a reachable goal from Spain, set the course, and follow good navigation procedures to reach that goal. However, if the ship was designed for trans-Atlantic voyages, and it had a cargo that would generate the greatest return if it was taken to New York City, reaching the goal of Africa may not be in the captain’s best interest. Africa might be the best option, but he would need to determine what was important to him and set his goals accordingly.

As followers of Jesus, our goals should align with who God wants us to be and where He would have us go.The world generates oodles of messages promoting earthly mindset ideas of success and goals to achieve. We only live once and should not waste our opportunity to partner with God in what He has defined as important for us. The important things to God are living lives that minister in Christ’s love to those around us and reaching out to those God has called us to carry the truth of who He is and how important they are to Him. If our goals don’t reflect these basic principles of following Jesus, our walk might be better categorized as watching Jesus from a distance rather than actually following Him.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:2

In the Canary Islands of Spain resides an indigenous Seventh Day Baptist pastor named Luis de le Cruz. Luis runs a local non-profit book store that generates revenue for projects to help those in need of food, clothing, and essential medical supplies. Unemployment and financial struggles in the Canaries has made it a hard place to operate and minister. Moving to a place with more opportunities, like Spain’s capital, Madrid, has crossed his mind. But having God recently affirm Luis’ calling to be in the Canaries makes achievable goals like relocating to Madrid to get a good paying job irrelevant for Luis.

Having confidence that the goals we set are set as obedient children of our Father in heaven is really the first step to achieving the plans that God has for us. Navigating that course may be challenging, but achieving the goals God has set for us is ultimately more fulfilling than those that may give temporary satisfaction.

Clinton R. Brown, Executive Director @ SDB Missions