In 1938, Douglas Corrigan flew from Brooklyn, New York to Ireland although the flight plan he filed was to fly to Long Beach, California! He claimed his unauthorized flight was due to a navigational error caused by heavy cloud cover. But, he had made modifications to his plane for transatlantic flight even though he had been denied permission to attempt such a flight (He was one of the builders of the Charles Lindbergh’s Spirit of St Louis). Douglas Corrigan gained the nick-name, “Wrong Way Corrigan.”
In a game against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 25, 1964, Jim Marshall, defensive end for the Minnesota Vikings, scooped up a fumble by the 49er’s quarterback, Billy Kilmer, and raced to the end zone–unfortunately the wrong one, resulting in a safety for the 49ers! There are at least two other instances of players in the NFL heading toward the wrong end zone.That scene has been repeated in many sports. If you have participated in or watched enough basketball, hockey, or soccer, you have seen players make goals for their opposition. (It may have even happened to you!)
“In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, Matt Emmons of the United States, a world-champion marksman, had a significant lead entering the final round of the 50-meter, three-position rifle competition. He hit the bull’s eye on his three shots, then looked on, puzzled, as the automatic scoring system did not credit his shots. He called the judge over, and the target was pulled in to ascertain just what had occurred. It was untouched. No holes. The target in the next lane, however, had three extra holes–holes made by Matt’s shots. His mistake cost him in the standings, and he finished eighth.” (From Uncommon by Tony Dungy) He was obviously aiming at the wrong goal. (An interesting footnote to the story: Competitor Katerina Kurkova of the Czech Republic made it a point to introduce herself and offer her condolences to Matt. Less than three years later, they married!)
So, what’s the goal you are shooting at or heading for in your life: success in business, a healthy bank account, lots of possessions, prestige in your community, achievement and fame in your realm of endeavor? Oh, it is good to have goals, because “He who doesn’t know where he is going will discover that any road will take him there.” But, as someone wisely said, “Take time to think where you’re going or you may not like where you end up!” A little saying I heard years ago that sounds a bit silly, but makes a lot of sense goes like this: “As you travel down life’s road, may this ever be your goal; keep your eye upon the donut, and not upon the hole!” If you’ve read Solomon’s book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, that could be a paraphrase of his observations regarding life. Because he had great wealth, he was able to acquire anything he wanted and to do anything his heart desired. He tried “everything under the sun” and here is his observation: “I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and striving after wind…And all that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun” (Eccl. 1:14; 2:10,11). After a description of all that Solomon had accomplished and acquired, his final analysis was: “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth….The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep his commandments…” (12:1, 13).
As the Westminster Catechism states: “The purpose of man is to enjoy God and to glorify Him forever.” They got it right. That’s what the Bible says and it must be our final standard for measuring our lives and our purpose in being. Man’s greatest goal must be to bring glory to God. Now that doesn’t mean everyone must quit what he or she is doing and become a preacher or a foreign missionary or a full-time vocational Christian worker. What it does mean is whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God, as an “ambassador for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20). Paul wrote: “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father…Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Col. 3:17,23,24). When that is the “goal” of our life, not only is our life pleasing to God, but we will find the significance, the purpose, the fulfillment, the satisfaction that we search for, but can’t find, in other places. When we can say with the Apostle Paul, “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21), then we are really living. Then we are aimed at the right goal. Then we will also, one day, be able to say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (II Tim. 4:7,8).
So, make sure you are headed for the right goal. Don’t score for your opponent (your adversary, the devil). Solomon, who shared his wisdom in the book of Proverbs, wrote: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Pr. 14:12). Many a person has set goals and climbed the “ladder of success,” only to find it leaning on the wrong wall. Don’t be one of those! Make it your goal to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mt. 6:33).