Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
John 10:10 (The Message)
Here we are two days from closing the door on 2013. Perhaps then it is a good time to reflect upon where we’ve been. But even more than that, perhaps we should be reflecting on where we’re going as we approach the first day of 2014, and the new clean, blank, uncluttered, untarnished and unspoiled landscape spreading before each of us upon which to continue the journey of our lives which God has given us.
There was a poignant moment the other day which adds context to these reflections. A dear friend had gone to be with his heavenly father. Those speaking at his memorial service reminded us of all the lives he had touched, and then we paid final respects to him at the cemetery where his earthly body was laid to rest.
At the conclusion of the commitment ceremony at the cemetery, you couldn’t help notice and read some of the other grave-markers stretching as far as the eye could see. My father-in-law—one of the great men in my life—used to do that regularly whenever he had the chance. It gave him the opportunity to reflect on where he had been before he set his sights ahead. Before he journeyed on.
Such a walk—reading sentiments etched on grave-markers by the loved ones left behind—causes one to wonder if Christ’s words set out above were real in the lives of those remembered there.
Did the journey of their lives reflect and believe in an eternal perspective?
Was the journey of their lives as the Good Shepherd intended: “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” Or was it just “good enough” with all the usual trimmings and trappings of the good life espoused by society, if even that? Did they just exist through the days along their journey? Or did they live the life God created them to live, and which Jesus called them to live?
I wonder if they believed deep down where it affected and drove their dreams, actions, decisions, and days—that they were God created “one-of-a-kinds.” I wonder if they knew that they were each uniquely created originals.
I wonder if their parents, grandparents, family, friends and others—as they grew through childhood, teenage years, young adult, adult and older—believed that about them. I wonder if they affirmed that in them with God-like wisdom and calm.
I wonder if they ever felt that they were the most important person in the world—to at least one other person?
What about you? Do you believe that you are a God-created “one-of-a-kind” original? Do you believe that the hand of the Creator shaped you with gifts and abilities, interests and motivations in combinations and magnitudes that no one else has? Do you believe that you are called by your Creator to a life that is more than just “good enough,” to a life with an eternal perspective that is “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”
Or has the “thief” destroyed those beliefs along the way—through the influence of others—perhaps even beginning when you were a child? Have you been led to believe by those who were entrusted to care for you, that you are common, regular, and really no different—nothing really special? And instead of nurturing, encouraging and sacrificing for all that was unique and wonderfully created in you, those “thieves” left you less than all God created you to be?
Where are your dreams? Are they in full flight or long-abandoned? Have they been killed or destroyed? Have you failed so many times in trying to do something—that you just don’t want to try again? Do you believe that you can do all things through the Christ who strengthens you and created you—or is that just another nice-sounding scripture verse that probably applies to someone else?
Well, if any of that resembles the journey of your life, or someone else you know, it’s time for a fresh start. And what better time to start than today—in the last two days of the last year of the life you used to live, and on into the New Year.
A fresh start which instead follows the path which the God Who created you intended for you to walk on—no, actually to run on. A fresh start which reclaims all that you were meant to be. A fresh start which reaches again for all the dreams you once held dear and believed in with all your heart.
And for all of us entrusted as parents, grandparents and in other roles, with the lives of others—it’s time to begin a fresh start from our failings toward the ones who God has entrusted to our care. So those children, grandchildren, and others can get a fresh start and begin to believe—way down deep—the “real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of” which they were created and called to live.
And it begins by following only one path—His.
May I suggest we do it today, or tomorrow and in all our tomorrows.
May I suggest we do it today, for ourselves and all those others for whom we have been given the privilege and responsibility of influence.
Do it today.
Make it a new, fresh New Year.
Make it a new, fresh New Year that is marked by a “real and eternal life, more and better life than [you] ever dreamed of.”
Happy New Year to each of you. Happy New Year!
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2013. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.