Goals & Destinations: Don't Forget to Live Along the Way
- Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Reading the famous story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, you will observe several people going down a path and how they react to something unexpected. As the men traveled along the road to their destinations, notice that they faced something they did not account for when they started. They had probably made that uneventful journey many times before and each time the trip went off without a hitch. This time, however, fate chose to throw them a curveball and they had to make a choice of how they were going to handle it. What they did next illustrates a powerful point about how people move through the journey called life.
The unexpected element of their journey was a man who had been mugged and left for dead along the road. The first traveler walked along, saw the victim, and intentionally moved to the other side of the road to avoid contact with the injured man. A second man approached and did the exact same thing.
This seems heartless, but why did they do it? Why did they ignore a man in obvious need? When you dig deeper into motivation, you find that they really are not much different than most people today. These two men had a destination and were trying to get someplace. In their minds, they knew exactly where that place was and how to get there. So they started on the road and determined that they would not let anything distract them or keep them from their destination.
When they ran into the injured man, they saw him not as a man in need, but as a delay to reaching their destination. That caused them to ignore him and press on with their destination in the forefront of their minds. Did they reach their destinations? Probably so. And did they get there on time? I believe they did. By the definition of the efficiency expert they were successes. They decided upon a goal, did not allow themselves to become distracted en route, and reached their destination on time.
But what they may have gained in efficiency they lost in the richness of the journey. For them it was all about the end goal or the destination. And as long as they reached that end goal it did not matter how they got there. But by putting so much emphasis on the destination, they missed the great enjoyment and fulfillment that they could have had by being attentive on the trip.
Everyday, millions of Americans do the same thing. They wake up, determined to reach some destination in their career, salary or relationships and they push forward with that one goal in sight. Unfortunately, pursuing their destination causes them to miss everything else that is going on during their trip. Even if they reach their destination, they will never be as satisfied as those who took time to enjoy - even be delayed by - the trip.
The third traveler in the story, a man we know today as the Good Samaritan, understood this principle. The first two men had tunnel vision and were so focused on their destination that they walked right past the hurt man so they could get to the end of their journey. However, the Good Samaritan put aside his desire to reach his destination as quickly as possible and helped the injured man. Even though he did not get where he wanted as fast as the other men, his journey was ultimately much more fulfilling.
Life is filled with all kinds of detours and bumps in the road. You may think you know where you are going and how long it will take you to get there, but inevitably something will happen and throw off your plans. Those are the moments when you need to pause and soak in everything happening, for it very well could be that there is some great blessing in the detours. Some of the most memorable moments in life are the ones you did not expect. When something did not go the way you anticipate, you first look at it as an annoyance, but when you take the time to explore it and embrace it, you may soon discover that it was worth the momentary delay on your journey.
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