As We Turn the Calendar
The last of the year. Seemingly, there are as many rejoicing to see the closure of a difficult year as there are those who admittedly express some mixed emotions regarding its closure. If we endeavored to list all the blessings of 2020, we would be surely something, would we not? Likewise, if we endeavored to list all the negatives of this year, we would likely miss a few of those items. The fact is, God graciously gave us only one day at a time with which to live our lives to His honor and glory. If we utilized those days to that divine purpose, then we had a great year! If not …
Several years ago, an author penned a rather lengthy article entitled AT THE TURNING OF THE CALENDAR. He wrote pertinently regarding various events that both he and his employees had engaged in that year and enumerated their accomplishments with appropriate praise. He also expounded on the endeavors they failed to accomplish and opined on the reality that time had passed them by without further opportunity for completion of those desires. Why could this organization not engage the unfinished within the new year and press onward toward additional success? Perhaps they would engage those desires, and bring them to fruition, but they could not be regarded as “new” endeavors if carried from the old into the new. A “new” year, in the mind of the employer, meant new challenges, and unfinished projects were merely “cleaning up” the past.
In my files, I have a copy of that article and have frequently reflected on its content through the years. I must admit I have more agreement with its content than disagreement. If one merely continues to work year after year on the “unfinished” projects of the past, seemingly one would be less inclined to begin new challenges. Therefore, the past is consistently incomplete, the present has only a minimal challenge, and the future is never considered. In a fashion, such a one is forever locked to the past!
As always, we need to consider this spiritually! Our past cannot be regained. Once gone, its record stands unchangeable. We can do nothing about changing the past in any fashion. As for the future, we are told, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34) Scripturally, the only “future” we Christians should desire is heaven eternal; and that must be desired day by day (James 4: 13 – 17; 2 Corinthians 4:16). One day at a time is all we are permitted: we must neither waste the day nor desire more than we were granted!
As 2020 comes to its close, many can pleasurably reflect on various accomplishments within the Lord’s cause. Those thoughts are comforting and encouraging. But those are done and not to be redone. As well, we might acknowledge some things we endeavored to accomplish but never finished. While indeed we might engage them in such a way as to complete them in the new year, they remain “old projects” and not new endeavors. Christians must not live in the past, (Philippians 3:13) but engage each new day with fresh desires of daily accomplishments for the Lord! Granted, finishing a worthy effort is good; but we must never let that be the end of our labors!
I have never been one to promote “resolutions” for they too often become “a list of lies” when never engaged, or at best “a list of failures” when interest in getting them completed wains. Instead, I suggest we Christians begin each day with prayer: 1) thanking God for the dawning of another day in which we live, move, and have our being in Him; 2) requesting of Him strength for the day; enough strength to permit the courage to accept every opportunity within that new day to serve Him acceptably with reverence and godly fear; 3) thanking Him for acquired knowledge through study regarding His Word, and request wisdom to use it wisely in every engagement with other people; 4) praising Him for placing us where God’s Word is needed and thus using us to fill that need, and 5) requesting of Him the help needed to accomplish the day’s tasks without failure!
It truly is a blessing that we cannot see any farther into the future than “now.” This blessing causes us to value every moment and use it to the fullest degree. It keeps us focused on one job at a time, and the carefulness needed to complete that job before attempting a second. It lets us recognize the necessity of God helping us, (Hebrews 13: 5- 6) and humbles us to recognize our inadequacies when we try anything on our own (Colossians 3:17). Yes, as we turn the calendar, let us never try to turn more than one day at a time!
This week’s publication of THOUGHTS WORTH THINKING concludes could be numbered as “Volume 32.” We began in 1988 when we came to Pinhook, changed the numbering of volumes when we went to West Second Street in Bloomington, IN, and changed again when we began working with the Lord’s people in Orleans, IN. If the Lord wills, we will begin a NEW volume on January 3, 2021. We thank you for your continued reading and studying these articles. May God be glorified for the good they accomplish.