Let me begin by wishing everyone a very blessed and prosperous New Year!! It’s hard to believe that we are almost one week into the New Year of 2020. Many like me, welcomed 2020 from the comforts of our own home. I once was one of those who partied the New Year in and I always paid the price the next day for all that celebration. Because I once played in a band, many times we were working bringing in the New Year and helping everyone else celebrate the New Year with song and dancing.
Everyone has so many hopes, so many dreams, so many expectations whenever a New Year comes. Many of those hopes, dreams and expectations center around us and what we want to see take place in our lives in the New Year. We make New Year resolutions and in a short time, we sadly find ourselves falling short in keeping those resolutions and seeing them through to the end.
In Acts 20 we read of the Apostle Paul’s many trips where he would minister the word of God. In Acts 20:17-35 we read where Paul called for the elders of the church to give what we go on to discover would be his farewell speech to them. Paul said many things to these elders, one of them being he felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem, not knowing what would happen to him when he got there. Paul goes on to say the Holy Spirit had warned him that in every city he went to, times in prison and hardships would surely cross his path.
I have never been one who you would say was a risk taker, though before I knew Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I did a lot in things many would consider to be very dumb, very risky and very dangerous. Back then I allowed myself to do bad things and be with people who were not very nice people. As I look back at those times, I scratch my head as to why I am not in prison myself today or even dead.
Paul is not talking about doing dumb, foolish stuff here that would cause him many hardships or even place him in prison. Paul writes in Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace”
I try to go to the gym at least 4 days a week, though I must confess, lately that has not been the case but I will get back on track. Those of us who try to regularly go to the gym always chuckle when we see the many new faces in the gym at the start of any New Year; those who have made a resolution, set a goal that this would be the year they get back in shape.
The reason we chuckle is so many of those people soon fall off the wagon and only a small group of people see it to the end. Going to the gym can be easy, if you spend a lot of time talking and not exercising, or very difficult/demanding, if you actually work out. I’ve at times done a lot of talking in the gym but I also work out when I go and for being almost 72 years old, I can hold my own lifting weights.
I have to be honest, there have been many times when I just didn’t want to go to the gym and talked myself out of going, but for the most part, I go to the gym because I like it and I know it is good for me.
Every believer has been enrolled, or signed up by the Holy Spirit to go to God’s spiritual gym, though so many fail to do that. The spiritual gym has a whole different set of machines to work out on. It takes lots of hard work and determination to stay in God’s spiritual gym. The goal of God’s spiritual gym is teach you and empower you so you see it through to the end and complete whatever task it may be the Lord has for you in 2020.
As believers we are all instructed to be witnesses for the Lord, not only by knowing His word but more importantly by living out what we read in God’s Word for others to see.
When the gun goes off at every race, you see fresh people, strong legs and lots of determination on the faces of those running the race. When you come to the end of a race, you find tired runners with exhausted looks on their faces. Yet, it is those who cross the finish line, who completed the task set before them who get the applause.
I believe 2020 will be a great year in the Lord but the blessing belongs to those who finish the race and complete the task the Lord gave them at the start.
My friend, let’s determine to be those believers in 2020 who look to finish our race and complete the task given to us by the Lord today!!
Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash
Categories: A Pastor's Blog