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Chasing Two Rabbits?

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Are you trying to run in two directions at once?

What happens when your priority is "having it all, my way"?

Have you ever felt that you were being pulled in several directions at once, such that you just could not achieve your goals? We can have excellent goals, yet not know which ones to pursue with the limited time and resources we have. Having good goals is necessary, but it is not enough.

I remember talking with a young man who was trying to settle on a career path. I realized that he had talent behind his ideas, but the specific tasks he would need to pursue would require him to go in very different directions.

Ultimately, he came to realize that while several of his options were viable and full of great potential, one man could not realistically accomplish them all. His dilemma brought to my mind an ancient proverb attributed to the well-known Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479bc), who reportedly said, "He who chases two rabbits catches neither!"

That simple bit of folk wisdom highlights an important principle. It is essential to have a clearly defined goal if one is to succeed. A short attention span and the tendency to try to go in more than one direction is a sure path to failure. What good is it to have two excellent goals if the pursuit of one gets in the way of pursuing the other?

A study of those individuals who have made great contributions and enjoyed success in any field reveals almost without exception that they had clearly defined, worthwhile goals and that they pursued them with energy, drive and tenacity.

Of course, Confucius does not have the last word on this topic. Your Bible—always the best foundation for any plan or instruction—has a great deal to say on this topic.  For instance, it recounts how Jesus was approached by a young man who asked Him an important question, one that every thinking person should ask: "Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?" Jesus told him, "…if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" Jesus replied, "'If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions" (Matthew 19:16-–22).

The young man said he wanted eternal life, but he would not give up his emphasis on pursuing wealth.  He was "chasing two rabbits." In another place, Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). "Mammon" refers to the unreasonable desire for, or emphasis on, wealth.

Choose Your Goal

Which "rabbit" will you pursue? That is, what is your primary goal in life? The Bible states plainly that, if we are to have spiritual well-being and true prosperity, we must "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).

Righteousness? What could that mean? Anciently, King David of Israel defined it this way: "My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness" (Psalm 119:172).

Wise King Solomon also understood these things and was inspired to write, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5–6). Good advice, then and now. Moreover, what happens when we seek first the Kingdom of God? We may worry about so many other goals, but Jesus reassures us, "all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33).

Society offers us so many distractions, options and confusing choices. It is so easy to lose our focus. Setting the goal to seek first God's kingdom and put His ways into practice will bring real peace of mind—along with the spiritual and physical blessings we desire.

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