Like you, my wife and I have financial goals we are trying to reach. Because we are 100 percent debt free, most of our remaining goals are of the long-term variety. We are thinking mostly about things that we’d like to see happen in our retirement and how we can set the next generation of our family up for continued financial success.
I understand the importance of and appreciate the value in setting goals for your money. But sometimes when the realization of those goals lies so far in the future, it makes it hard to move towards them everyday. I find myself having times where I’m intensely focused on them and other times when I’m completely uninterested. I find it difficult to consistently stay motivated to reach those long-term goals.
What I’ve come to realize is that anything of value that is worth seeking will bring some form of hardship. Nothing comes easy. I will get discouraged and weary at times and want to give up.
But what I can’t do during those times of doubt is waver. And this verse from Galatians 6:9 has been one I’ve held on to as I’ve thought about reaching our financial goals:
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
The Farmer and His Crop
My grandfather was a farmer in west-central Ohio. I remember being on his farm during the planting season and watching his tractors plow through the dirt and plant the seeds. It was all so exciting…until you had to wait.
And wait…and wait…and wait.
It seemed like the plants would never start growing. Then, once the seeds sprouted and pushed their way to the top of the soil, it seemed like they couldn’t grow fast enough. Quite frankly, it was pretty boring watching them grow agonizingly slow day in and day out.
Month after month would go by. Spring would stretch into summer and then the fall. There were brief moments of activity when my grandfather might fertilize the field or spray for bugs. But mostly it was a waiting game, trusting mother nature to due her work through rainwater and sunlight.
What I came to realize is that you have to exercise great patience to be a farmer. You cannot grow weary and lose heart with the process. My grandfather knew there would come a specific time when those plants would be ready to harvest. It couldn’t happen a moment to soon for me. But if he’d been impatient and tried to reap before the crop was ready, he would have lost it all.
Projecting Your Own Crop
I will grant you that it is difficult to project into your financial future and know exactly how events will unfold. We have our goals but we don’t really know how they will play out. Only God knows and he’s not in the business of revealing his plans in advance of us being ready to know what they are.
But if I’m to reach the financial goals for my family, I can’t grow weary in pursuing them. I’ve got to keep strength of heart to pursue them, through all manner of trials and tribulations. And the promise that I will reap the benefits of my efforts down the road does spur me on.
The Galatians 6:9 challenge is similar to one found in I Corinthians 15:58 which reads,
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
That verse is specifically referencing our work for the Lord, not our finances. But the idea that our labor – the effort we put forth to accomplish something – is not in vain can and should motivate us in all areas of life. Your ability to reach financial goals will be measured by how steadfast and fixed you are in pursuing them. If you adhere to those values, then the effort you put in to reaching your goals will not be in vain.
If you are weary today about pursuing your long-term goals, then refocus yourself. Think about why you implemented them in the first place. Dream about what life will be like when you reach them.
Above all, do not lose heart no matter how far in the future your goals may be or how difficult they may be to reach. You will reap a reward in due season. That's a promise.
Questions for Discussion: How do you stay motivated to reach those goals that are a long way down the road? What other tips could you offer to someone who is struggling through some doubts?