From the Rev: New Year, New Resolutions
It’s a new year and with a new year, come new resolutions – whether a goal to lose weight, spend more time with family, become a better soccer player, or to win a championship – all sorts of things make our initial list to try and “resolve.” For the Colorado Rapids, they have some new year resolutions on the field and off the field. And, even for this Rev, there are a few “resolutions” that I have been considering myself. To be honest, though, I am not a big believer in making annual resolutions – unless they have some “SMART”-ness to them; SMART standing for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
New Year, New Resolutions Out of Control?
Of course, sometimes we make resolutions when things are really out of our control. Such is the case for New York City Football Club (NYCFC) who recently revealed that midfielder Frank Lampard, whom had been highly promoted as a premier player for the club, won’t join the team until July at earliest. The pundits and fans, alike, are up in arms about the “false advertising” that the team or perhaps, Major League Soccer (or maybe both) provided about Lampard. So maybe acquiring the player that you want isn’t the best new year resolution to make.
Of course, you could try and make it a priority to name your team as the franchise in Atlanta (set to begin league play in 2017) is attempting to do, but as Matthew Doyle (pictured right) writes, that might be harder than it seems.
Some of these names are trying a bit too hard, while a few others aren’t trying quite hard enough. And some are trying hard to appear like they’re not trying very hard.
Whatever the resolution, we may first want to ask our selves if we are attempting to control something that is really out of our control.
New Year, New Resolutions In Our Control
You don’t hear too many people make resolutions like these:
I resolve to depend more on others.
I resolve to rely upon God and not myself.
We do make resolutions that often are within some scope of our own responsibility and control. I recently entered a 20/20 challenge. Pay $20 into a pool of people working to lose 20 lbs. this year – unfortunately, the challenge began before Christmas and New Year’s so there has been difficulty with the amount of food and sweets that typical Americans eat during this season. While I have lost about 5 lbs. thus far, there is still a long “weigh” to go. While I don’t really see this as a New Year resolution – there are some similarities but more at issue has been how I got to be overweight in the first place.
Dereliction of Duty?
Call it absent-mindedness. Call it busyness. As a writer once said,
Gaining three pounds a year wasn’t significant. Until looking back 10 years…
There is a sense that we try to make new year resolutions about things that show we have been disobedient, poor stewards, or just simply lazy. I have a lot of excuses for my own weight gains – ministry, the children, getting enough sleep, not wanting to sweat, not being 20 anymore, and so on. But there is always a responsibility that we have – first to God, and then to others. Actually, the two are so intricately intertwined that we cannot separate the two.
I was recently gifted an exercise bike – that helps, especially in winter. But we still have to get on the bike – we still have an outworking responsibility. This is the curious thing about faith, too – we have a part in the growth (or death) of our faith.
New Year, New Faith Resolutions
Most people that I serve, struggle with their faith at some point or another at life. Maybe it is in the midst of crisis, maybe it is in the dullness of prosperity, other times it is in moment of unbelievability. This is nothing new. At one point in the gospel of Luke (17:5-6), the disciples of Jesus ask,
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
The faith to do – to uproot a tree, to live out a resolution, to accomplish a task – this faith doesn’t simply go or grow on its own. A mustard seed must be planted, watered, tended. So, too, our faith.
When I sit across from people who tell me that they’ve “lost God” or God “doesn’t exist anymore” for them, I sometimes ask when such a thing happened or where was the last place they “left him.” The loss of God (or faith, or a resolution) usually occurs when there is a departure from Him – they stopped reading the Bible, they stopped being involved in a community of faith or church, they stopped praying, they stopped believing.
Perhaps, in this new year of 2015 we ought to resolve to grow our faith – to start believing in God again, to pray once more, to start becoming involved again in a local community of faith, to begin reading His famous letter. Maybe, just maybe, we will then have the strength and the resolve to see the other things in life – things within and without our control – come to fruition. And, if we don’t, then at least we can settle for God’s peace about it.
Rev. Brad Kenney