Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are convinced of better things in your case—the things that have to do with salvation. Hebrews 6, verse 9.
Happy new year, friend reader, and welcome 2017. Good things are going to happen this year! Wake up, Dave, and get back to work. Better yet, get a job! Today, however, I get to say that part of my job includes sharing these words with you. My job is sharing Jesus no matter what I do. It’s your job too. Better yet, it’s our pleasure.
Now, if you read the verse again, you find it really is a good new year’s verse. 2016 ended on a harsh note for many people. More police, soldiers, and innocent people died last year than celebrities but we and the media focus on the deaths of high-profile people, and there were many. Half of the US is disgruntled over yet another election. ISIS is still moving uninhibited all across the globe, and our leaders are feckless in trying to stop them. Our leadership seems determined to pick a fight with Russia without presenting their evidence as to why they should. On my home front, today marks the second day in this decade I’m without a full-time job, and while there are prospects, at the moment I’m fishing a warm lake at high noon. My wife can’t shake this really nasty head-cold. Right now, it’s raining cats and dogs and there might just be a bad leak in the roof over my guest room closet.
Boo hoo and good riddance to 2016. Mixed in with the bad was more good than I can cite in this tiny blog. Today is day two of a new year and that’s a fresh opportunity. Sure, that’s a pat answer, a typical stereotype. People always say that they like New Year’s because it’s a chance for a new beginning. I wonder how often we consider that January 1 is actually an arbitrary day selected by our ancestors. We could make any day the first of the year. Our calendar was drawn up to roughly correspond with regular cycles of the moon. Any day could be New Year’s Day; pick one and call it your own.
Except that misses the point. The point isn’t the day on the calendar or even the position of the moon. The point is Jesus. Any day should be a reason to celebrate because any day is another day to enjoy salvation. To live a life freed of the guilt and consequence of bad things we did in the past. To live in thankful celebration of that fact, and to be able to look forward to something truly new and wonderful beyond our comprehension when this corporeal life comes to an end. Yesterday was New Year’s Day. Today is a new year day as well, the only one of its kind that we’ll live this entire year, indeed in our entire lifetime. You might live through another January 2, but you’ll never live through another January 2, 2017. Celebrate that gift of a new day because Jesus gave us life to celebrate, not to ruminate or complicate or any other ‘ate’ that doesn’t focus on Him.
A pastor friend of mine said that the quick answer to all catechism questions is “Jesus.” Even when he asks more pointed questions, very often students will simply respond with “Jesus” to mask whether or not they have actually addressed said question. I guess that Jesus is the catch-all answer when we don’t know what else to say, especially when we’re in eighth grade and wish we were out doing cooler things than catechism.
Truth? Yep. It’s the truth. We search for more complex answers to questions that vex us when, all along, the answers may actually be pretty straightforward. There is nothing we can do that can undo the salvation that only Jesus won for us. He did everything necessary to make us righteous again and bring our relationship with God back into harmony. You and I can reject that, and we get what we get when we do. So why reject it? Accept the simple truth of Jesus and watch life improve. To paraphrase my friend, Chad Bird, why lock the door to hell from the inside? Open the door and walk out, then celebrate the fact that Jesus is waiting there as always.
There’s a new full-time job just ahead. In-between now and then, there’s the full-time gift of celebrating that the Son of Man made it possible for us to live forever. Rain waters the ground and fills up my shrinking pond, and fixing a leak isn’t difficult. Celebrities and commoners die but if they believed in Jesus they aren’t really dead; they’ve just moved on. More good than bad will come from this brand new year. Time to begin again live gladly because of that…because of Him.
For further reading: 1 Corinthians 10:14.
Lord Jesus, thank You for each new day. Bless this one and this new year by teaching, guiding, rebuking, loving, and living with me as I inch through it.