A lot can happen in 5 years.
On January 1, 2014, I was a shell of a man. I had lost my job, and with it, my falsely-placed identity. So, I turned to running only to find myself with plantar fasciitis- unable to run. That identity was gone, too.
2014-2016 was me dealing with anger, bitterness, frustration; sometimes I did this well. More often, it was as though I was an unredeemed jackhole who had never even met Christ. And He, Jesus, never left me nor did he forsake me. This is a promise going back to the time of Moses:
“In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the LORD your God and listen to what he tells you. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon you or destroy you or forget the solemn covenant he made with your ancestors”- Deuteronomy 4:30/31.
And now, it’s 2019.
Last year at WestWay, one of the books we read together was from the Old Testament called “Ecclesiastes.” In short, it’s about a guy who seeks meaning, purpose and identity in all the usual ways: wealth, success, sex, accomplishments, wisdom, alcohol…you name it, Solomon tried it.
And it, every one of those things, left him empty and wanting. The shell of a man.
His conclusion? “Eat, drink, find satisfaction in work, enjoy the fruits of your labor, wear fine clothes, wear cologne (just not Axe, please), live happily with the woman (or man) that you love, and take it all in.”
Not because life is short and in a fit of nihilistic hedonism because this is the only one you get so you must make it count.
Why, then? Because these things are gifts from God himself. And because they are gifts from God, he anticipates that we will use them in the manner they were designed to be used.
In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
So, for 2019, my hope is to fully live my life in the hope, promise, love, mercy and satisfaction found in Christ alone.
I’m going to eat and drink. I’ll wear fine clothes: jeans and my 1/4 zip pullover each Sunday, and when I preach, I’ll take my shoes off and rock my new socks (thanks Taylor, Derek, and Jenn). I’m going to love my wife well because God has placed her into my life to spiritually transform me. I’m going to run more miles than I did last year, and Lord willing, continue my ridiculous run streak. I’m going to spend more time cultivating my relationship with Christ and with others. I’m going to remember that my role is to watch over the souls God has placed in my care, and to do so joyfully.
I’m going to remember that everything I do matters because it’s the only one I have. And, it’s the only life I have because it’s been given me through the sacrifice of Jesus.
My word for 2019?