It’s that time of year. Mormons are making resolutions. Our stake is is circulating sheets of detailed statistical goals. How many young men aged 18-25 will serve missions from your ward this year? What number of post-baptism lessons will be taught to converts in the first quarter? Accompanying is a quotation from M. Russell Ballard — “the Lord micromanages this Church.” Yesterday our Bishopric talked about what they had learned from last year that they would apply to doing better this year.

If past years are any indicator, most Mormons won’t keep their resolve. Our stake will not meet most of our detailed statistical goals any more than we’ve met our less detailed statistical goals in years past. (The Ballard quote can’t be found in any published source. If genuine, it uses striking rhetoric only to remind us that God is concerned even with the minutia of our lives and willing to give direction about it.) The main lesson our Bishopric learned from last year was that they got discouraged too easily when they expected results from their efforts.

Goals don’t really work.

For some perspective, imagine God doing New Year’s resolutions, which is ludicrous. How many pounds does the enthroned Godhead need to lose, or how much do they need to brush up on their hometeaching? What God proposes to do, He does. He has no weaknesses.

And yet. God does have a failed goal from last year, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He didn’t almost reach the goal. He didn’t halfway reach the goal. His failure was on so large in scope that it can only be called divine.

Will He renew the goal this year? I doubt it not. I also don’t doubt that He will fail anew this year.

Setting goals and resolves and metrics for the year may be one of the holiest and most God-like things we do all year, when we inevitably fail to meet them.

After working through this line of thought this weekend, I saw that the Gently Hew Stone blog had already anticipated it. Read the post here.

I can’t end better than by quoting the scripture that’s the centerpiece of the Gently Hew Stone post:

“But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh.”

Jacob 5:47.

The problem with New Year’s resolutions turns out to be the problem of the Fall. All goals lead to Golgotha.

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