By Lynn Jones
A survey of new year’s resolutions that people are making reveals these results: Women: 1) Lose weight; 2) Be a better person; 3) Stop smoking. Men: 1) Stop smoking; 2) Spend less money; 3) Lose weight. The one thing that the two lists have in common is losing weight. Emerging from our annual feeding frenzy extending from Thanksgiving to Christmas, that’s a resolution that most of us should make.
An advertisement for a weight-loss program touted the program and then concluded with this line: “A word to the wide is sufficient.” Others resist. One man said that if the Lord intended for us to touch our toes He would have put them higher up on our body. When a man announced his intention to begin jogging 10 miles each day, his friend gave him this advice: “Get a cardiologist to examine your heart, an orthopedist to examine your bones, and a psychiatrist to examine your head.”
Keeping our resolutions is always a challenge. A cartoon in late January one year showed a wife saying to her husband, “Not only have you broken all your new year’s resolutions. You have also broken 6 out of 10 of the Ten Commandments.”
In spite of our difficulty following through on our resolutions, I’m all for a time of the year that challenges us to make new beginnings. Maybe what we need to do is to use a different word. The late Andy Rooney wrote one year, “This year I’m giving up resolutions. I’m switching to revolutions. I am revolting against the way I am.”
We ought to join Rooney in that revolution. We ought to have a revolutionary discontent with the way we are. We need to experience revolutionary changes in our lives.
One of the preoccupations is trying to peer into the future and making predictions about what lies ahead. That is exceedingly difficult to do. We are enamored with trying to predict the future, but discerning the future is not our primary need. Carlyle said, “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance; but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
That is the great challenge and the great need in our lives. This is the day that the Lord has made, and we need to be good stewards of this day and its possibilities.
Ralph Sockman said that as we face the foggy and shadowy future, we tend to spend most of our time asking for lights and maps. What we need far more, and what God gives, is a guide to go with us into the future. He gives His Holy Spirit who provides guidance, strength, and direction. As we are sensitive to our guide, we can make the most of the task at hand and of the days that lie in our future. Now that would be a great new year’s revolution.
Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: email@example.com.