Bible Verse: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25-35

“What are you doing for the long weekend?” “Any travel plans yet for the vacation break?” Whew! I’ve barely been home for a few days from our vacation and already I’m hit with questions about the next trip. After years of expatriate life, I realize that if we don’t make travel plans well in advance, we just may not get what we want.

A few weeks ago, I read an interview with Steven Covey, author of the highly acclaimed book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. When asked which of the seven habits is the most important he said, “Begin with the end in mind.” In other words, make travel plans, because if you don’t have the end location in mind, all the stuff you do in between will simply be a haphazard hit or miss.

Isn’t it amazing that we will put so much time and energy into planning a two-week vacation and so easily overlook planning for those things that are far more significant? Where would you like to go in LIFE? What destination would you like to arrive at in your marriage? What kind of person do you want to be when you retire? And how about the trip beyond the grave that will take you to your eternal destination? Have you made any plans for that journey?

Nobody plans to fail: they just fail to plan. Nobody accidentally arrives at their dream location. Getting there requires planning and lots of preparation. Obtaining the longing of our heart requires setting the goal and then lining up all the moving parts (finances, schedules, travel details, priorities, relationships, etc.) to point toward the desired outcome.

Why not ask yourself where you want to be at the end of the year? If you don’t know where you want to be, then you will probably be saying “Yes” to anything that comes your way. But if you begin with the end in mind, you will be able to wisely choose involvements that will shape your schedule, your friendships, your commitments and your quality of life.

Last May, a departing expatriate said to me, “I’ve been in Egypt three years and only recently discovered the joy of knowing Christ and the rich benefits for my family. I wish I had started sooner. I wasted so much time.”

If you want this year to be a year of great personal enrichment, if you want your marriage and family to grow stronger, if you want to enjoy the present with eternity in clear focus, then make plans accordingly. Begin with the end in mind. Determine where you want to go… and then make your travel plans.

— Dave Petrescue in Pastor Dave’s Reflections. Copyright © Brenda Petrescue, 2008. Used by permission

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