I love goal-setting each year. It’s the way I’m wired. Beginning in November, I begin to get excited about the year ahead as I think and pray about what I want to accomplish. As I mature in my faith, more and more, I am beginning to ask the question, “What does God want me to accomplish in the next year?” I’d love to tell you I’ve always started there, but the truth is I haven’t been as prayerful in this area of my life as I should have been.
Every year I have set a financial goal, either how much I want to earn, a financial goal I’d like to meet, or even what I would like my net worth to be. This year I felt God telling me quite strongly there should be no more financial goals in my plan. I’d like to explain why and perhaps you might join me in declaring, “No more financial goals!”
Setting financial goals might be an excuse for our lack of faith in God’s provision. Yes, you can make the argument of wanting to achieve financial independence so you can have the ability to give and serve more; I’ve made the same argument more than once. I want to be financially blessed so I can bless others. Here’s where this thinking misses the mark: if we only give from our excess we are not trusting God to provide our basic needs. Being more generous because we are financially independent is easy. It’s hardly even a sacrifice. Being extravagantly generous regardless of our financial situation shows a dependence on God and a willingness to obey regardless of our circumstances.
Another reason I believe God has instructed me to set no more financial goals is it’s a very materialistic goal. It doesn’t directly impact the Kingdom. How we use our finances can certainly be used for the Kingdom, but they can also be squandered on selfish and frivolous things. I don’t want any material things in my plans for the future. My future is God alone, and He is Spirit, not material. I want my life to reflect the object of my desire and pursuit. Setting financial goals takes my eyes off Jesus and puts them on success and achievement by the world’s standards. Jesus was very clear; we cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24).
I will make one caveat: if you have any sort of debt, I believe it is honoring to God to pay off that debt. This frees resources you can invest in His Kingdom instead. God used the ministry of Dave Ramsey to help my wife and I get out of debt many years ago, and I highly recommend his book, “The Total Money Makeover”, to help you do the same.
For the first time, I won’t be setting any financial goals for the upcoming year. I thought it would be scary, but I’ve found it to be quite freeing instead. I’m not concerned about what next year will bring. I could lose my job, the stock market could bottom out, and we could find ourselves in a deep recession. None of it matters, and truth be told the exact opposite could happen and I might find myself financially blessed. The point is, it doesn’t matter. What matters is Jesus and what we do for Him. What matters is bringing glory to the One who died so we might live. If you are a goal-setter like me, focus your goals on bringing Him glory and growing in Him. These are the things that matter and will last. So, no more financial goals. Let’s trust and obey and marvel at what God will do through us in the coming year.