Happy New Year! In the excitement of thinking about goals for the coming year, I decided to take a look at what I had written and resolved at this time last year. My excitement quickly waned.

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A year ago, following Michael Hyatt’s fantastic program, I had written 10 goals for 2014. I achieved only two of them. Is this a failure? Perhaps. Yet, it puts me in good company. And it also reminds us of the real reasons we set goals. 

The point of setting goals is not simply to achieve them. It is to move toward them. It is to become the person we are meant to be. We learn this truth from the biblical hero Moses.

The Failure of Moses

Moses is given a goal by God: Lead the Israelite people into the Promised Land. He works hard. He encounters obstacles. He remains steadfast. He even saves them from destruction.

Does he achieve his goal? Does he make into the Promised Land? No. He dies atop Mount Nebo, looking out onto it. He misses his goal. Is he a failure? Is his life a tragedy?

Of course not. Moses is human. By definition he does not achieve everything he hoped to. Yet, as my dad once put it, reflecting on the career from which he recently retired, [callout]Like almost everybody, all my dreams didn’t come true. But, more realistically, maybe what came true was more than I could have dreamed would really happen.[/callout]

I think Moses could have said the same thing. He did not make into the Promised Land. But he turned an enslaved people into a free nation. He brought God’s word down from Mount Sinai. He blessed a successor, Joshua, who ultimately led the people across the Jordan River into the land of Israel.

We Are Never Off the Hook

Yes, we should define goals. We should write them down and create action plans to achieve them. Once again this year, I have followed Michael Hyatt’s program.

Yet, in doing so, we need to remember what we are on earth here to do. We are not here to get a grade. We are not here to check things off a list. We are not here to despair, but neither are we here to solve all the problems of the world.

We are here to serve, to sanctify and to grow. We are here to walk in faith, knowing, as a great rabbi put it 2000 years ago, “it is not our obligation to complete the task, but neither are we free to desist from it.” May this be, for you and yours, a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.

Rabbi Evan

I show the way Jewish wisdom make our lives richer and happier. In particular, I help Jews appreciate their heritage and Christians uncover the Jewish roots of their faith. Get my FREE Jewish holidays cheat sheet by clicking here.

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