Every year, people all over the world made resolutions to mark how they would like to live differently from that point forward. Unfortunately, most of these resolutions are either so extreme as to be unattainable or so lame that attaining them would make no meaningful impact on their live or the lives of others.
This reminds me of when the high holy season of Lent approached during my first year of seminary. Students were mulling in the lounge about what to give up for the weeks of penitence. One young southern belle approached this hardened city slicker to inquire of her choices. She offered that she was forgoing chocolate and sodas. I responded that I would be giving up cursing and running red lights.
How her dietary adjustment affected her walk with Christ, I do not know. However, I am sure the reduction of environmental pollution resulting from my potty mouth and the increased safety of pedestrians, fellow motorists, and herself made angels smile.
This New Year’s Day, I am proud to say that I am entering 2013 significantly different than I started the previous year. Yes, the body is more fit, finances are stronger, and relationships are more productive. But that’s not enough. Those are temporal measures, not what God uses to assess the quality of our lives.
Just this morning I entered the gym and requested a body fat and BMI measurement to benchmark my fitness level. Much to my chagrin, my composition was not as lean as I would like to have thought. I workout religiously, but my eating habits showed up in the results.
Imagine God placing us on the scales of time. What would be found wanting in our being? Are we living right? In right relationship with our neighbors? In right relationship with the Divine?
In Being and Nothingness, Martin Heideggar describes existence as being capable of only one sin: inauthenticity. Each of us was created with a purpose. Not fulfilling it places us in a state of rebellion against God. To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams (I Samuel 15:22).
What is it that you know to be true down to the core of your soul to which you are not conforming your life? You might be doing it, but with minimal effort.
For me, that is preaching the gospel.
As many of you know I have tried. Lord knows I have. Many obstacles have confronted me in the institutional church—not that it is the only game in town. When faced with professional obstacles, I have been known to be quite dogged in reaching my goals. Why I have not shown the same determined to forge my path in God’s kingdom is inexcusable.
This year begins for me with mental, physical, and scheduling clutter removed to put first things first. Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! (I Corinthians 9:16b).