The Greek government has announced that it will miss an International Monetary Fund (IMF) payment on June 5 unless they receive more aid. The $300 million euro payment is only about 20 percent of the total payments due in June alone.
Without agreement of creditors and the Greek government, the situation is dire. Since creditors include the IMF, the European Central Bank, some European countries and others, negotiations are complex. Last month, Greece avoided default by draining its reserve account with the IMF to pay the IMF.
Creditors want Greece to implement more austerity in the form of increased taxes and reduced federal expenditures. The populist Greek government was elected on the promise that it will not accept more austerity.
Current unemployment levels in Greece are comparable or worse than the U.S. unemployment rate during the great recession of the 1930s. The Greek government argues that Greeks have suffered enough. Creditors argue the Greeks are living above their means. Both sides, thus far, are adamant.
Recent polls have shown that Greeks want to stay in the European Community, want to keep the euro as their currency, and do not want their government to accept more austerity from creditors. Their goals are in conflict. Greece will not be able to keep the euro without getting their economic house in order. Even if last minute negotiations buy them more time, they will eventually either have to get their economy to be more sustainable or leave the euro.
Conflicting goals create frustration, waste resources, and can hinder or prevent the purposes that God has for our lives and ministries. God has a purpose for each of us and for each of our ministries. Our goals and actions should be directed toward that purpose. He will bless us in all that He has called us to do. Our goals should not conflict with the Word or with what the Spirit is telling us, and should be consistent with each other.
For example, we may have the goal:
1. To have a congregation that knows the Word of God and is empowered by it. But, if we also have the goal of not offending with our sermons and classes, the goals conflict. Significant portions of the Word would not be covered as they might offend.
2. To have praise and worship that is God honoring and known for ushering in His Presence. But if we also have the goal to have worship last no more than 20 minutes and include five songs, the goals may conflict. True worship occurs at the direction of the Spirit in spirit and truth.
3. To have a congregation that desires and seeks holiness. But, if we also have the goal to be culturally relevant and friendly, the goals conflict. True followers of Christ will confront the areas of culture that do not align with the Word.
4. To have a congregation that is operating in the gifts and fruit of the Spirit. But if we also have goals of strict order, protocols, and testing, the goals may be in conflict. The Bible instructs that everything be done in order. However, the Bible also says that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Balance is essential.
Do we have goals in our ministries or personal lives that conflict with the Word, the guidance of the Spirit, or with each other? What are they? How are we going to correct them?
"I press toward the goal to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14, MEV).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics and undergraduate chair of the College of Business at Oral Roberts University.
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