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RELIGION: Set attainable goals

by Gene Linzey | May 26, 2021 at 5:22 a.m.

Note: By special request, I republish this Reflection from Dec. 26, 2018. .

An acquaintance was on a cross-country trip and spotted something vaguely familiar beside a barn. Stopping at the farmhouse to enquire about it, the farmer gave George permission to check it out.

As George approached the car, his eyes saw a rusty, dilapidated 1958 Buick Roadmaster. The leather seats were shredded with springs protruding and animal fur and chicken feathers imbedded; two windows were broken with the other two down; the chrome was peeling and all four tires were flat. As he opened the hood, the scared cat hissed and jumped off the engine, and George saw what used to be radiator hoses and electrical wiring dangling uselessly. They had long ago deteriorated.

But George's mind saw something else.

He imagined a bright, shiny, light burgundy, 1958 Buick Roadmaster with a circled V on the front grill and a gleaming white roof. In his mind he saw shiny chrome all around the car with sunlight glinting off it, the electric windows working, and soft, pliable leather seating. Ultimately, he saw himself slowly cruising through town, smiling as the men oohed and aahed over it. In his mind, it looked just like the one his dad owned when George was in elementary school. THIS is what he longed for.

George had a garage where he would do all the work himself. He would buy the books for body, engine and electrical work; he knew a painter in a nearby town who would paint it that beautiful light burgundy color; and knew a man who could replace the windows.

George made the farmer an offer and after a little negotiating the deal was done. In two days, the cat had to find a different hiding place as a truck hauled the soon-to-be-renovated beauty to George's garage. He was ecstatic!

Four years passed, but nothing about the car changed.

"George, when are you going to stop procrastinating!" George heard that often in those four years. It wasn't a question – it was a demand. "Why did you bring it here in the first place! Will you please do something with that Rusty Hulk?" That last one was a plea.

What happened? Very simply, George found himself not wanting to do the work. With all the right intentions and with great expectations, George set unrealistic goals.

George envisioned the finished product, but he really didn't know how to go about it. He also found out that he didn't have the desire to get out the sander and throw sparks all around the garage while sanding every square inch of the Rusty Hulk (the title given to it by George's wife). Every time he looked at the ghost-of-the-past, he mentally sunk lower.

Why did I ever bring it home? He wondered.

When he finally prayed about it, asking the Lord if he should actually start the project or how he should use his time, an interesting idea came to him. Perhaps this thought was from the Lord.

He made an appointment with the pastor and shared the idea with him.

"Great idea!" boomed the clergyman, and he called in the youth director.

"This could be the answer to one of my prayers." the youth pastor said. "I've been looking for a project for the high school boys."

George gave Rusty Hulk to the church as a gift, and George's wife got her garage back. Borrowing tools from their parents, the teenage boys had a ball removing old seats, stripping the rusty shell of everything that was possibly removable, and throwing sparks as shiny metal emerged.

To make the story short, George wasn't procrastinating. Desiring to fulfill a childhood dream, George attempted to do something that was not his calling. When he finally realized it, he was able to let it go.

When the church youth group was through, it wasn't the blazing beauty that George imagined, but it was nice. The church sold the Roadmaster, and the substantial profit was used to set up a workshop where the youth group could do other projects. George's gift kept on giving.

Do you find yourself procrastinating when it comes to finishing a project or reaching a goal? Create a workable resolution: Pray about each project and see if that's what the Lord wants you to do. Setting goals too high or setting the wrong goals will extinguish your God-given creativity. So, don't do that.

May the Lord bless you as you set wise and attainable goals.

-- S. Eugene Linzey is the author of 'Charter of the Christian Faith.' Send comments and questions to [email protected] Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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