September 28 is my New Year’s Eve. My life was changed on September 29, 1974 when I chose to follow Jesus and be baptized. If you’re under the age of 30, that seems like a lifetime ago; it’s the “olden days” to you. When my kids were young, they asked me if everything was black and white when I was growing up. Like color hadn’t been invented yet! I laughed and said, “Of course not.” But were more things black and white in 1974? Possibly, but that’s a completely different subject… let’s get back on track.
So, happy New Year’s Day to me every September 29! When is your New Year’s Day? Is it just another day that rolls by, or do you stop and think about the commitment you made the day you gave your life to Christ? I was speaking with one sister, and she couldn’t remember the date she was baptized. I was kind, so I didn’t say anything, but I wanted to say, “Do you forget your natural birthday?” (For those of you who know me, that took great restraint because I tend to be sarcastic.)
Many people make New Year’s resolutions. “I am going to lose weight.” “I am going to save more money.” “I am going to exercise every day!” I’m sure you’ve heard those and many more. When it’s your New Year’s Day, consider making a resolution that will strengthen your relationship with God.
The possibilities are endless! Visit the sick. Text someone who’s lonely. Listen to Christian radio. Begin every day by reading scripture, even if it’s as brief as the Verse of the Day on the Church’s app. If it’s more than you are currently reading, it’s a step in the right direction. If you don’t already, actually kneel by your bed at night instead of whispering a few words of thanks as you slip between the sheets.
Love the unlovable. I have flashbacks of being in the school cafeteria and looking at all the cool kids sitting together. I was never a cool kid. Get out of your comfort zone, and sit next to a person in church who’s not so “cool.” You will most likely find them interesting, and more importantly, you will make them feel important.
Don’t over-resolve. You may become overwhelmed, feel like a failure and not accomplish anything. Admit your strengths and weaknesses. If you feel like you’re going to faint when you walk through the doors of a nursing home, then maybe visiting one isn’t the resolution for you. Make it easy so that you will remain steadfast in your resolution.
Last year, I resolved to send a card to every person that requested prayer that included an address from the Gospel Email system. I made it easy so I would actually do it. I bought a box of thinking of you, get well and sympathy cards, put postage stamps in the box, and kept it in a drawer next to my computer. The key for me is not to procrastinate. If I let that email sit in my inbox for a few days, it will get buried with my other emails. As soon as I read the email, I send a card.
Recently after my father-in-law passed away, my mother-in-law received at least 50 cards from brothers and sisters throughout the church. She was overwhelmed by the love that was shown to her. She told Chuck, “I don’t know who these people are, but I know they’re from your church.” To those of you who sent the cards, know that you made a difference in her life.
I’ll just finish with this: You can draw closer to God any day of the year, not just on your New Year’s Day.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.