based on Ephesians 1:3-14
A new year’s resolution…a new start. We like to think that the New Year offers us an opportunity to ‘start afresh,’ or ‘right the ship’…or maybe just to live more fully in the coming year. What have been some resolutions that people have made?
- Eat more healthily
- exercise more
- spend more time with the family
- get better grades in school
- travel the world
- go to church more often
I used to make really grand resolutions for the coming year. As I sat with some of my childhood friends this past week we discussed some of our plans from years past. The lists included finding girlfriends and boyfriends, traveling to exotic locations, and finding great jobs.
These schemes continued until college, and my friend Mike. Each year a few of us went up to my friend’s parent’s lake house on Lake Erie, where we would usher in the New Year amongst friends, a fire, and some peace and quiet (we were not your typical college party crowd). Mike was, and still is, a different kind of guy. A gifted athlete, Mike and I met on the soccer field our first year of college. Our relationship grew as we joined the Christian fellowship group on campus, and our friendship solidified as we studied theology and religion together. Mike is a tall guy, and growing up outside of Detroit he has a simple, outdoorsy, Midwestern look about him. And the one thing that people always remark about him is how peaceful and thoughtful he is.
Do you know anyone like this? Who can still a chaotic room? Who can restore your breath and return your focus, just by his presence? Maybe a friend or family member…I like to think Jesus was one of these sorts of people.
So Mike and I were sitting by the fire as we were known to do on each New Year’s Eve, and we were discussing our resolutions for the coming year. And for some reason, after sharing in and catching up with each others lives over the past year, we both came up with a similar resolution. This year, let’s take Jesus’ words seriously and lose ourselves. No more resolutions about finding ‘successes’ in the world; let’s forget about ourselves this year, and instead focus on our spiritual walks with God (did I mention we were not ‘normal’ by most people’s standards?). Maybe it was the Holy Spirit moving, but from our sharing of God’s love in each others lives, we were able to turn our focus to God’s movement in the world.
Fast forward a few months…and after college I was heading to ministry in the mountains of Montana, which eventually led me to pastoral ministry with you all this morning, and Mike was off learn more about peacemaking, and he currently lives and works in Northern Ireland as part of the effort towards peacemaking and reconciliation.
Resolutions, or our attitudes in general, can be very fun and silly things, or they can change your life if you allow them to. All it takes is a change of perspective, like our text presents us with this morning.