Well, we’ve finally made the leap to 2021. Glad 2020 is over! How could a year with that name have been so out of focus? As they say, time marches on; sometimes it limps.
So here we are with a new year. Its potential and possibilities seem endless. Of course, some things aren’t possible. Unless you’re a card-carrying member of the PGA, you don’t have a shot at winning The Masters this spring. Even if it’s run on schedule this year, we won’t be riding the victorious horse in the Kentucky Derby. And we probably won’t win the lottery. (Since I don’t buy lottery tickets, that definitely reduces my chances!)
Odds are only slightly better for starring in a reality TV show. For most people, their reality is as thrilling as watching paint dry anyway. It’s also very unlikely Elon Musk will call, inviting us to board his next SpaceX flight, or to test-drive a Tesla. Do you really think the coach of your favorite football team will ask you to draw up some new plays?
But what about those things that are real possibilities – even probabilities? The things we can definitely accomplish, if only we have a mind to do so? Presuming virus restrictions are reduced or eliminated (they will, someday, won’t they?), we actually might be able to make that out-of-town, out-of-state, or even out-of-country trip we’ve looked forward to for so long. And we could finally undertake that hobby or project we’ve thought about so often. How about attempting to read through the Bible in a year?
Last year I was able to reconnect with several old friends and relatives, folks I hadn’t talked with literally for decades. I’d like to do more of that this year. When “auld acquaintances are forgot,” that’s not good. It’s fun rekindling relationships from the past. There are a number of other things I would like to finally get around to doing, things that could benefit myself and others.
A friend of mine used to show men he was mentoring an accountability chart, helping them to rate different areas in their lives, such as physical, mental, spiritual, financial, vocational and social. By evaluating themselves in each area, they could determine where improvements or changes were needed and consider how to go about doing that. How about you?
Physical. With the turmoil of the past year, many of us slacked off in caring for ourselves physically, not exercising as we should and not eating properly. Do you need to do something in this area? The Scriptures say, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Mental. In a very real sense, we’re engaged in a battle for our minds. How will we keep our thinking properly focused? “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…. Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:2-3).
Spiritual. In addition to our physical, mental and emotional makeup, we’re also spiritual beings. Who – or what – truly holds our spiritual allegiance, our worship? “And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'” (Matthew 22:37). Jesus also said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).
Financial. The Bible teaches that rather than being owners, we are managers or stewards of what the Lord has provided. That should make a difference in how we handle our money and possessions. “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours…. Wealth and honor come from you…” (1 Chronicles 29:11-12).
Vocational. The work we do, whether full-time or part-time, in the home or outside of it, is an expression of service to God and others. How we approach it is a reflection of what we believe. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).
Social. The Bible says much, not only about how we interact with others, but also about how we treat them. For instance, we’re told we need one another:
“The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts, and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ…. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
The passages above have great depth of meaning, but as I look ahead to this new year, two phrases seem to stand out: “you are not your own,” and “it is the Lord Christ you are serving.” If we could keep those truths in the forefront of our minds, what a difference that would make.