During the course of my life I have set goals for myself. Early on, some goals were tangible, and I could formulate a plan to achieve them. For instance, I determined in high school that I would become a lawyer. Upon deciding this, I knew that I would have to perform well academically, , apply to the right schools, take certain courses, etc. Thus, I set a course of action and followed it.
Certainly, I have not always been successful, but having a plan has always brought me much encouragement. However, some of my goals have been more abstract or spiritual in nature, and drafting a concrete plan has not been quite so obvious a step to take. For example, I have wanted to grow a healthy marriage, to raise children that know God, to help advance God’s kingdom, and to fulfill God’s will for my life. Couldn’t someone just give me a list of things to do to assure the accomplishment of these goals?
Last week, I attended a funeral. I didn’t know the gentleman who had passed away, rather, he was the husband of a woman who attends my Bible study. But in that short time, I learned a lot about him from the eulogies given, and I came away wishing I had known him. He lived in the generation of my own father—born during the Great Depression, and served in the military. Apparently, he was a quiet man, but when he spoke it was with intention, and people listened. He often repeated one phrase in particular that resonated with his children, and they would remember him by this wisdom—do the next right thing. I thought to myself, what a great mantra to live by. Could it be that achieving my spiritual goals is as simple as that?
Isn’t this what God requires of us? One of my favorite life verses is from the Old Testament:
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Simply, the Lord tells us, do the next right thing.