New Year’s Day is when people all around the world make resolutions that they want to keep but almost always never do. Consequently, New Year’s Day sets up many people for disappointment, failure, and depression. My friend here at the Reasons to Believe office, Kenneth Samples, has a cure for these New Year’s Day blues. He makes resolutions that require zero discipline. One year he resolved to send no text messages. That same year he gave up text messaging for Lent. When Ken made those resolutions, he had never sent or received a text message in his life. In a year previous to that, when the Lakers basketball team dominated the league, Ken resolved to watch every Lakers game that was televised in our area. Anyone who knows Ken recognizes that, next to Jack Nicholson, he is the greatest and most loyal fan the Lakers team possesses. His resolution did nothing to change the way he lives and behaves.
I would like to recommend something in between the typical New Year’s Day resolution and my friend Ken Samples’s approach. The beginning of January is always reassessment time for us at Reasons to Believe. As I mentioned in a post on my Facebook page,1 Reasons to Believe receives about a third of its annual income in the month of December. Furthermore, our December income has consistently been a bellwether for how much income we can expect for the next calendar year. Consequently, based on December’s receipts, I get together with our executives and determine what ministry ventures we will attempt to undertake and which ones we decide to drop or delay. More importantly, we ask God if he wants to redirect our ministry efforts. We ask God if there are more impactful and resource-efficient ministry ventures we have not yet considered that he wants us to pursue.
What I do for Reasons to Believe, I also do for myself. Every January, in consultation with my wife Kathy and with the Lord, I attempt to determine how I should invest my personal time, treasures, and talents. It is a time when Kathy and I reassess our charitable donations and our hours of volunteer service. It is a time when we reassess our strategies for personal evangelism. It is a time when we ask God to show us better ways we can further the ministry of Reasons to Believe. It also is a time when we ask God for counsel and directives on how to improve our marriage and in our roles as parents to our sons and now to our new daughter-in-law.
2018 is a new year. May I encourage you to take some time this month to talk to God about what you are presently doing and should continue to do, but also to give him permission to redirect your paths, motives, and desires. As you do so, may you experience blessings from God beyond what you have expected and, thus, make 2018 the happiest and most fulfilling new year of your life.