Faith and Family

Lynn Jones: Christ models choosing a great goal for life 

By Lynn Jones

The poet, Vachel Lindsey, wrote, “It is the world’s great tragedy, not that people die, but that they die so dreamlessly.” Dying dreamlessly—what an awful way to die. But it is even more tragic to live dreamlessly—with no great dream to challenge and move us. 

It has been said that we have a great deal of postage on us, but no clear address. What is your address? Where are you headed? What are your goals, your dreams?

Lynn Jones

As with all of life, we gain our best guidance on this matter by examining the life of Jesus. Nowhere is Jesus’ goal seen more clearly than in Luke 9:51. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up into heaven, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Jesus would not arrive in Jerusalem for another six months. In fact, Luke did not record that arrival until Luke 19:28. But from this point on, one thing loomed over everything else. It was the journey to Jerusalem and His date with the cross!

Along the way, Jesus invited others to follow Him, but they often delayed their commitment. Jesus issued this great warning. “No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk. 9:62). I never plowed much when I was growing up on the farm, but when I did, it required great focus and concentration. I could hardly keep from plowing up some of the plants even when I plowed like that. Trying to plow while looking backward would have been a disaster. And that is one of the problems we have in the Christian life. We lack focus and direction. There must come a time when the foothills sink into the ground, and the big things, the mountains, stand forth. 

Jesus could have had any goal in life that He wanted. But do you know what He chose as the goal for His life?—a cross! That was what was awaiting Him in Jerusalem, and He steadfastly set His face to go there.

We are often too self-centered to choose goals that are in keeping with the goals of Christ. As Calvin Miller said, “Ego is a junk buyer. He hordes old values and ladens us with matchbooks and ticket stubs.” And while our pockets are filled with such trash, we walk by the real treasures of life.

What we need is something shaped like a cross. We need to bless and enrich the lives of others. “Live and let live,” we sometimes say. In fact, we’ve said it so often that many think it is in the Bible. It is not. It would be far more biblical to say, “Live and help live.” That is what Jesus did with His life, and we need to be more like Him.

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: