December 24, 2007 & December 31, 2007
By Pastor George Van Alstine
We have a New Yearâs tradition of making resolutions. Sometimes these resolutions make a difference in our lives. Most of the time they donât. They just leave us frustrated with another failure because we havenât followed through.
So for me, my 2008 New Yearâs resolution is not to do anything new or different. My resolution is to finish a lot of the things Iâve started. I donât need any more items to add to my bag of unfinished projects; I need some successes to help empty my bag a little. Iâd like to be able to spend January and February stamping a number of long-term projects âdone!â? At the same time Iâd like to reduce the number of thingsâon my desk, in my car, around the house, at the church, in my mindâthat have the label âunfinished.â? In many cases, Iâm the only one who can see the label, but these things are all part of that bag I carry.
Jesus told a parable about the need to count the cost before you begin a project, so that you will actually be able to complete it (Luke 14:28-30). Unfortunately, life doesnât allow us to focus entirely on one project until we see it through to completion. We have many things to work on at the same time, having to move continually between home, work, hobbies, and life goals. Most of us are juggling lots of these balls at the same time. But some of us seem to be so intent on keeping all our multitude of projects in the air that weâre never able to hold any one still long enough to stamp it âdone!â?
I envy the Apostle Paul, who was able to say, âI have fought the good fight, I have finished the race . . .â? (2 Timothy 4:7). Certainly, he still had many loose ends and unfinished projects. But he had a sense of proportion, so that he could stamp his major mission in life âdone!â? Thatâs good.
The Lord Jesus said from the cross âIt is finished.â? He didnât mean, âIâm finished; Iâm defeated.â? He meant, âMy work is finished; Iâve accomplished what I came to do.â? Only three years of public ministry? Many parables still untold? Many people still unhealed? Yet, at the age of thirty-three, he could stamp his work âdone!â?
I donât have as clear a focus as either Paul or Jesus. Sometimes my list of unfinished projects seems overwhelming. So Iâve decided not to start with the big things, like my lifeâs mission. Iâm going to attack my desk! Iâll have my âdone!â? stamp in hand, and Iâll have a wastebasket nearby with âreally done!â? marked on the side. Then, by Godâs grace, Iâll deal with it item by item. No new resolution; just a determination to complete some old ones and stamp them âdone!â?