Happy New Year! It was so nice to welcome everyone back this week following our long Christmas break. I heard many stories about gifts given and received, trips to visit distant relatives and even a handful of New Year’s resolutions.
Folks have used the occasion of the new year to resolve to do one thing or another for hundreds of years, maybe longer. This week I came across an article that researched the ten most common resolutions and I noticed something. Eight out of ten are focused on self, “lose weight”, “exercise more”, “eat better”, “be less stressed”, etc. Only two, “volunteer more” and “spend more time with family” were outwardly focused. There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to take better care of yourself, but the tradition of making a resolution at the new year began with a focus on others. Over time, not unlike our culture in general, the tradition has become more self-absorbed. This misplaced focus is sad, but more importantly, I believe it misses an opportunity. If we resolve to place our focus on God and our right relationship with Him, we might be more successful in keeping those other resolutions, which, by the way, are broken 90% of the time according to research. I like the way Gospel of Matthew puts it, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Did you make a resolution this year? Was it focused on you or on what you can do for others? The great 18th century preacher and theologian, Jonathan Edwards, famously made two resolutions and I think they’re worth all of us considering for ourselves. Edwards said, “Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.”
May we each be empowered by the Spirit to live each day of 2018 with new zeal for the One who makes each day possible.
Jim R. Callis
Head of School