A Look Back

year in reviewToday is the final day of 2012.  How will you spend it?  For many, the focus is on college football and New Year’s Eve celebrations.  Well, before you get into all that, I’d like to encourage you to take a moment today to look back and reflect on all that God has done for you over the past 364 days of this year.

Obviously I can’t know all that will go on your list, but here is one universal blessing that we all received this past year, and it is one that we can easily overlook:

ANOTHER YEAR OF LIFE!

Would you have thought to put that on your list?  “God . . . holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways” (Daniel 5:23 NKJV), and He graciously chose to give you and me yet another year of life.  Life is one of God’s great gifts to all of us this past year; our gift back to Him is simply this: how we lived it.

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on the past year and examine just how we used—and at times, misused—the precious and unrepeatable time God gave us.

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  (Ephesians 5:15-17)

Paul was telling the Ephesians, just as He is telling us today, that it is critical to make the most of the time God gives to us.  It’s so easy to major on the minor things of life that we can miss God’s best for us.  We must remember a few critical truths about life:

  • When we spend a minute we have one less minute to spend.
  • When we spend an hour we have one less hour to spend.
  • When we spend a day we have one less day to spend.
  • When we spend a week we have one less week to spend.
  • When we spend a month we have one less month to spend.
  • And when we spend a year we have one less year to spend.

There are many things we have been given in life that, if we lost them, we could get more of that thing back.  We can always get more money, more possessions, more jobs, more relationships, more opportunities.  But we cannot get more time.

Time is incredibly precious and limited; when something is precious and limited, the value increases.  Compared to eternity, we are here on earth for only a moment and none of us knows when that moment will come to an end.  And that is why we must make the most of every moment we have been given.

The devil will always try to convince you that you have more time.  Those who believe him will one day realize that much, much time—vast oceans of precious time—has been wasted.  The great Reformer John Calvin wrote, “There are so many allurements which can easily lead us astray.  Our society offers us an endless variety of allurements.  We need to be rid from these temptations and thorns.  We must abandon every hindrance and even hard work and toil may not be an excuse for neglecting the day of grace, or neglecting to do good.”

God tells us to redeem the time, which simply means we are to value the time we currently have by rescuing the opportunities God gives to us.  Opportunities to love unconditionally . . . opportunities to forgive completely . . . opportunities to do good . . . opportunities to serve others . . . opportunities to put God on display and advance the cause of His kingdom in this world.

So when opportunity knocks this year, will you be ready to respond to it and make the most of it?  Your answer, of course, will be a resounding YES . . . if you keep Jesus on the throne of your life and live in the light of eternity.  May God bless you throughout this New Year!

This is the Gospel.  This is grace for your race.  NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

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