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Goal-setting is a powerful way to plan. Goals can motivate us to turn our vision into reality, to make our life more productive. Experts say an effective goal is specific, measurable, attainable, rewarding, and has a fixed time by which to achieve it. Ezra, the Bible character, knew the value of setting goals. We read in Ezra Chapter 7 that after returning from Babylon, he set goals for himself: to study God’s word, to obey it himself, and to teach God’s word to his people. While in Babylon, he learned about the condition of his people who were back in their land after 70 years in exile. He knew that unless someone taught and modeled godly living before them, they would soon turn away from God and incur his judgment again. So, he volunteered go back home to lead them. He was wise enough to know that his people would never achieve God’s purpose for them unless they knew what God had revealed. So, he dedicated himself to study God’s word, to obey it himself, and to teach it to his people. By studying, he increased his knowledge of God, of God’s nature, purpose, and plans for his people. Yet he was wise enough to know that to be an effective leader, he had to practice the principles he taught others. Like Ezra, each of us has God-given abilities. God wants us to use them to make a difference in the lives of others.

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