Have you ever looked back on a completed year and wondered what you really accomplished? At the beginning of a new year is a great time for assessment of the past year and for making plans for the new one. However, sometimes this can be a discouraging task. Most ambitious folk will probably look back and feel that they should have done more. If we aren’t careful we can lapse into comparisons…” by this age ____ had already changed the world…and I’ve done nothing!”
Well, can we all do two things? 1) Take a chill pill! The only person who has totally changed the world in a moment is God! “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1, 3) Creating light for the first time?! Now that’s changing the world! Did you know that the Hebrew verb used in Genesis 1:1 for “created” is used in the Bible with only one subject…only one person does this act of creating: God! Is it possible that we fall prey to the temptation to try to expect too much of ourselves? Chill out a bit this year! Only God can create something out of nothing!
The second thing we can do is: 2) Do something small today, and every day! They say that the way to eat an elephant is…one bite at a time! Invariably when I hear of someone who accomplished great things, if I investigate the account more deeply, I find that the person’s great accomplishments were the result of a long, long path filled with almost daily hard work. The small, unsung, daily tasks prepared that person to be able to accomplish what became visible to the world. But not many people take note of the countless hours invested in the foundation that made the notable accomplishments possible. The lesson here is to be faithful in following the gifts, abilities and passion that God has invested in you! Or as Eugene Peterson put it: we need to pursue “a long obedience in the same direction.”
So, what I am trying to do this first week of the New Year is this: 1) realistically assess how things went last year, learn what I can, and remember Rome wasn’t built in a day…or a year! 2) Remind myself of the God-given gifts, abilities and passion that I am responsible to shepherd and nourish in this coming year. Then pick out some simple things I can do on a daily or weekly basis to build a foundation using these gifts God has given me. The Bible never says that anyone but God created anything, but it does record that people “fashioned” things (see Ex. 39:8). That is, we can take what God has already created and do something useful with it! So ask yourself three questions:
- What has God given you the ability to do?
- If you could do anything, what would you do?
- When do you feel most fulfilled?
Then ask yourself: What could I do today to live out the answer to these questions? Do a little bit of that every day in 2017!
If you do that, just imagine what your annual review will reveal on January 1, 2018!! I can’t wait to hear about it!
Have a great 2017!