When I think of setting goals for the year ahead, I’m reminded of the story of the sower in the Bible. The purpose of sowing seed is to yield fruit in due time/season, or should I say to reap rewards of what was planted.
Mark 4:3-8 (NIV) says: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
To me, the seed that fell along the path is when we dream of things we want to achieve and never do anything about them. The seed that fell on rocky places is dreams and goals that we don’t follow through with; we start out full of excitement and we are never consistent. I am guilty of this as well – starting strong and not even coming close to finishing. For me, it always comes down to your conviction or reason for doing it. What am I trying to achieve? What will happen if I stop and who does it affect?
The seed that fell among the thorns is when we allow everyone’s opinion of ourselves to dominate or make us doubt what God says about us. We lose confidence and don’t grow well, as God intended for us. Then there is the seed that falls on good soil; this is when we fully trust what God has in store for us! We hear Him and we pursue. We need to be the good soil that bears fruit, which means we need to have fully submitted our goals and plans to Him so He can help us achieve them according to His will.
I love how the story speaks about knowing which soil to plant in, because if you know which soil is required to plant the seed, then you will not miss the opportunity to plant well. Let us not miss the opportunity to plant well.
Practically speaking, a few years ago, my husband and I learnt to pray for the year ahead. The intention is to hear what God is saying to us as a couple, and for the church and what we should be trusting for. It helps us be more intentional with what we plan to do in the year and how we deal with situations as they come, keeping our focus on the goals we have set and the vision God has given us. It is always great to have first-hand revelation of what God is saying to you.
To give an example, a few years back, as we were praying, God said to my husband to be a Jonathan to the David and for me to be a channel leading to the river. We didn’t know how we were going to achieve what God was saying but we knew God was going to point the way as we started walking in it. I learnt in that season that you can’t lead others to a revelation unless you have one yourself; in order for the channel to help guide water to the river, it has to absorb water for itself first (the ground needs to be wet) then it can flow to where it needs to go. I needed to be soaking in the word of God before I could lead others. That whole year was based on me soaking in His word and understanding what He had for me. I never miss an opportunity to plan because it helps me understand what is important and what can wait. The beauty of planning and setting goals is seeing what you are working towards. There is fruitfulness when we stick to the plan of God.
2 Corinthians 9: 7-8 (NIV): “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
This has been my anthem for everything I do, setting things in my heart first then living them out. When you set goals for the year ahead, you commit to what you have written down or set in your heart.
Psalms 37:4 (ESV): “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Allow God to give you the desires of your heart and He will see you through. The consistency will come when we are fully relying on God to see us through with what He has in store for us.
John 10:10 NIV: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus has come to give us life to the full but if we don’t pursue Him or seek Him in all we do, then I believe we are not living life in abundance. Let us not allow the thief to steal what God has set for us for this year. We are called to bear fruit!
Women of Reverence welcomes Pinky Hlophe as a guest blogger.
A wife to Thulani Hlophe and a mother of two amazing children. I am on the eldership team of FrontLine People Church in Brackpan, Johannesburg.
I am currently in my 3 rd year, studying a Bcom Degree in Financial Management through UNISA.
I home-school both my children and just love seeing kids free, be themselves and grow to be who God intended them to be. I love serving in Administration of our local church and passionate about worship ministry.