Christmas is here and we’re coming to a close of the year.
In one hand we’re all aware of how fast the earth spins and goes around the sun. We’re aware how fast time flies, and we’re also expecting to do something like this again next year. We believe that we’ll be getting ready for Christmas next year, buying gifts, going to parties, and doing it all over again. And next year we’ll be thinking, “Time goes by fast…” again
And yet there’s a bitter-sweet aroma that something is coming to an end and we’ll never have this time again. That this season will never return and the earth will not spin in the reverse direction. That this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
I would submit to you that both are true. There is a time that we won’t get back: the train has left. There is also an opportunity for new beginnings: a new train has arrived.
Say goodbye to the train
I want to encourage you to look at the past in order to prepare for the future. The past is gone. It’s gone in the sense that we won’t get it back and won’t be able to redo anything. But it has left us something. It left us a taste in our mouth. Perhaps a bitter taste. Perhaps sweet. Maybe sour. But whatever taste it is, take time to reflect on that taste and what happened. Take the time to give thanks to our Creator.
The past is like looking at the rear view mirror: it’s much cleared. While we are driving forward, we peak in to the rear to see where we’ve been and to help us determine where to go forward. Reflect on what was a blessing to me. Reflect on who has blessed me this year. Reflect on where I could have been a more generous blessing-giver. Then use these reflections to learn and grow and plan for the arrival of the next train.
Anticipate Another Train
I want to encourage you to plan for the future. About a month ago, when thinking about stewardship, I asked wife, “What are the activities of a ‘good and faithful steward’?” I wanted to know what the Standard Operating Procedures of a faithful servant are. She simply answered with one word, “Planning.” Later that same week I asked her if there was anything else she would add. She thought for a moment and said, “Scheduling”. That’s it? That’s all you got?
I thought it would be more complex and elaborate than that. But not in her eyes. But that was a good answer and just the one I needed to hear. Many of us don’t take the time to prepare, to plan, to schedule. We just live in the moment thinking that we’re more free this way. But then we’re always anxious, bitter, and things never go “the way we want.” Well, hate to break it to ya, but they typically won’t if you won’t plan.
Take time to plan for tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. Someone once said it in a very interesting way. They said something like, “Don’t start the day until you’ve finished it, don’t start the week until it’s done, don’t start the month until it’s fulfilled, don’t start the year until you’ve accomplished it.”
Take what you’ve learned from the past and use it to plan for the future. Use what went wrong and setup walls where they’ve fallen down because, “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (Prov 25:28)
We can learn a lot from the ant. Naturally, we can learn a lot from nature for it is God’s creation and filled with His wisdom. There are two lessons from the ant that I want to point out.
- They take initiative. They don’t have an overseer telling them what to do. They get up and do it.
- They pay attention to the seasons. In the summer, they are preparing for the winter, in the winter, they are anticipating the spring. In the summer, beware and prepare for the winter. In the winter, anticipate the spring.
As our year comes to an end. May you grow and be rooted in the truth. Take what you’ve learned from yesterday to prepare for tomorrow. May you have a Merry Christmas, and may the Lord bless you and keep you.