Perhaps you’ve heard the story of a young man who makes a million-dollar mistake in his company and is overwhelmed with stress and worry. A few days pass, and sure enough, his managers call him in and say to him:
“After spending a million dollars training you, I sure hope that you aren’t thinking of quitting!”
We ought to make something of every year. Each new year should be like a new step on the stairs, lifting our feet a little higher. We ought not to live any two years on the same plane.
When the life of a follower of Jesus is lived as Jesus intended it to be, it becomes a thing of beauty. Being a Christian and having a relationship with God should be something that permeates our daily experiences, is integrated into our decisions, and brings color to our perceptions of ourselves, others, and this life.
Today, while visiting a small town, I learned yet again that when God says “Jump,” I should ask, “How high?” He always knows best.
I walked past a shipping depot and almost bumped into a man struggling to load a large tire into his 4x4 truck. I chuckled and said, “Looks like you’re getting tired!” (Yes, I have a propensity for joking with puns, forgive me.) He laughed back, and I continued walking.
Making decisions is rarely easy to do, and one of the most important times to get it right is when you are deciding on a new job offer. Some years ago, my wife and I were at a crossroads. I had just turned 50, and there is some indefinable thing that happens to our psyche each time our age rolls over to a new decade. The realization begins to dawn that we’re not getting any younger and we don’t have as many strong years left.
After graduating from college, I was glad to leave my books and assignments behind and was itching to jump into all the new experiences awaiting me in the workplace. I had been a good student during my college years and I was sure that my foreign language proficiency and good work ethic would land me a challenging job in the field that I was the most interested in. When I did not receive any substantial offers after sending out a first batch of resumes, however, I realized that my new and exciting job wasn’t going to happen as soon as I’d expected.
Many Christians who want to uphold Christ and do His work in their daily lives tend to see Him as their boss—a friendly fatherly boss, to be sure, but a boss nonetheless. He leaves instructions for them, He watches over them, He encourages and supports them, but He has an office on the top floor, and He doesn’t “get His hands dirty” in the morass of daily life.
The other day my wife and I took a stroll along the waterfront, enjoying the beauty of a large lake—the rugged mountains rising on both sides, the river that flows into the lake and supplies it with fresh water, the birds bobbing on the waves, the ever-changing hues of the lake, and the sun reflecting off the surface, transforming it into a stream of glittering gold. The big body of water and surrounding mountains provide a uniquely sheltered and pleasant climate.
Each passing year opens the door for the new, for the things that are to come. Every year brings with it new gifts and treasures, things that you won’t be able to hold in your hands or gain unless you exit through one door and step into the next one.
Our city in South Africa regularly experiences major power issues, with up to five hours of what they call “loadshedding” daily. Due to overdemand and undersupply, the electric company must cut back and shut off the electricity intermittently. During these periods, industry grinds to a halt, stores close, traffic booms, fans and fridges turn off, and everyone suffers. There’s only so much you can do without power.