Happy New Year!
Flime ties! It’s not just a matter of where did the year go – what about the whole decade? Remember all the hullabaloo about Y2k? Everybody concerned about what was gonna happen at the turn of the century? Would all the world’s computers crash? Would the dawn of a new millennium somehow cause global chaos? Can you believe all that uproar was ten years ago? Looking back now it seems kind of silly, doesn’t it?
After observing 65 New Years, ya know what I’ve discovered? It’s just another day. January 1st is no different than July 1st (’cept it’s a lot colder). Nothing magical happens at midnight on December 31st. You get to hang a new calendar and have to change a number when recording the date – that’s really about all. Yet…
There is something different about December 31 – January 1. It’s psychological, all in the head, but it’s there. I think it has something to do with the word “new.”
We all like new stuff – new shoes, new clothes, new carpet, new stove, new car, new whatever… And there you have it, it’s a new year. As it spreads out before us, it looks inviting. It has an optimistic sense about it – a fresh start. It’s here that I always think of what Paul wrote to the Philippian church, “but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3.13-14).
Isn’t that an awesome concept, especially when invoked at the beginning of the year? What’s behind is behind, and we can’t change any of it. But what’s before is before, and it’s in our hands to do as we will.
Do you like track meets? I love track meets. I love the pure contest of individual competition. Now picture the runners coming hard down the home stretch. It’s a close race and they’re spread out across the track, the finish line right in front of them. Suddenly, with their last stride they lunge forward, arms thrown back, chest thrust forward.
That’s exactly what Paul wants you to see when he writes “stretching forward to the things which are before.” The word he uses, epekteinomenos, is found nowhere else in the New Testament. It describes someone with eyes set on nothing but the goal going flat out for the finish. Let that be our resolve for this and all the coming years.
Happy New Year, brethren. Now take your marks…set…GO!