It’s the beginning of a new year, a time when many of us stop to ponder our lives, where we have been and where we are headed. It is also an opportunity to make “New Year’s Resolutions,” promises that we make to ourselves about how we will live in the year 2019. I would encourage you to take some time this week to think about your life. Who are you, where have you been, and where are you headed? Of course, it is always helpful to ask these same questions in our local churches. Does your local church ever stop to reflect on the year(s) past and formulate a plan with goals and strategies for the year ahead?
As I think about 2019 and all that is to come, I remember back to last year. I was in a group where we were asked to imagine that we are near the end of our life, and we are sharing with a young person three life lessons we learned. These were the lessons I shared:
- Practice the grace of seeing Jesus in every person you meet.
- You are here for a reason. God has called you to make a difference in your small corner of the world.
- Take care of yourself first if you are to be of any use to those you are called to serve.
My partner shared these life lessons:
- Do good.
- Be yourself.
- Be present.
Among the dozens of other life lessons that we shared, I offer this sampling.
- Stay rooted and grounded in God’s love.
- Be curious.
- Be humble.
- Treat people as you want to be treated.
- Be grateful.
- Pay it forward.
- Live with no regrets.
- Life is more than work.
- Discover Christ in others.
- Stay connected.
- Invest in others.
- Be open to surprise.
- Each person is important.
- Head to the mountains.
- Be patient.
- Don’t underestimate the life of others.
- Enjoy the moment.
- Challenges are a gift of God.
- Loving is better than being right.
- Stay in the present.
- Never stop learning.
- Be passionate about life.
- See others as God sees them.
- Fight injustice and systems that cause pain and evil.
- Walk slowly, go far, and see beauty everywhere.
- Live with joy.
- Hope in the face of material or spiritual poverty.
- Persevere in face of rejection.
- You will never be happy unless you learn how to forgive.
- Live one day at a time.
- Every day is a gift. Also, everyday is a gift.
- Don’t let the sun go down without seeing good in every person.
- Don’t be afraid when the body falls apart. Put your faith completely in God.
- God is present and brings healing even in the worst of situations.
- The church is a treasure in earthen vessels.
- Laugh from the belly.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Listen to your village.
- Be courageous.
- Love people.
- Stick with God.
- Walk in community.
- Do not shortchange yourself.
- God is always with you.
- Be fervent in prayer.
- Dream big for Christ.
- Always give your best to the Lord.
- Love people, for they want to know that you care.
- God will catch you when you fall.
The scripture that summarizes these life lessons and that I will carry with me all through 2019 is Colossians 3:12-17.
Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. The peace of Christ must control your hearts – a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17
What life lessons would you share with others? How will you live and be in 2019 as a disciple of Jesus Christ?