Prior to arrival of personal computers and online banking that make keeping a checking account in order so much simpler, I remember the end of the month chore called ‘balancing the checkbook.’ It seemed that there was always at least one check that was entered incorrectly, or some charge forgotten, that kept my balance from agreeing with that of the bank statement. I would go through my check register – line by line – looking for the error. If I didn’t do the work each month, the job of reconciliation became a monster!
In a few hours 2008 will be in the rear view mirror as we speed on down the road of life. Before it’s completely history, we would do well to take some time to make sure we close the books on this year with things in balance, with all accounts reconciled. Some questions that should be prayerfully and thoughtfully considered could include:
*Who needs to be forgiven, thanked, loved, accepted?
*What habits are helping to make me a better person and therefore should be cultivated, and, which ones are a drag on me spiritually or emotionally and need to be eliminated? *Are there gaps in my character that need to be addressed with discipline?
*What gifts has the Spirit given to me for which I should be thankful and that I must use for His glory?
*How did I succeed? … or fail? … and by whose measure?
If we refuse to engage in reflection and contemplative prayer (that which allows God to speak to us, rather than us speaking to Him) we will get stuck in patterns that quickly can become deep ruts that trap us. Remember that movie, “Groundhog Day?” (1993) In it, we are introduced to Phil Connors, (Bill Murray) a self-absorbed weatherman who finds himself re-living Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA over and over again. At first, he gives himself to selfish hedonism, but those choices soon cause him to be consumed with despair. Then, he starts to use his ‘curse’ to gain the skills he needs to help out others. He becomes a genuine hero.
Life can sometimes seem a lot like that film story! One day runs into the next, many seeming like a re-run of the day that went before. But, if we make the most of our opportunities and let God shape us with His hand, we drive away despair and begin to live with hope and joy as He promised.
Here’s a word from the Word for us on the last day of 2008. May the Lord give us insight and wisdom to embrace the calling that is urged on us in it.
“I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;… Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:8-9, 13-14, NKJV) ___________________
Father, I am thankful for all that You have allowed to be part of life.
I thank you for forgiveness for my sin,
for the power and life of the Spirit that changes me,
and for the promise of the prize of life in your home.
As this year closes, I pray for the gift of insight;
that I will see my life through Your eyes.
Now, Lord, as we turn the page into 2009,
I pray that You will lead me to the choices that will make my life count,
that will cause me to be a blessing to this world,
and most importantly,
that will allow me to hear Your commendation.
These things I ask in the Name of Jesus Christ,
my Savior, my Lord. Amen.