Happy New Year
It’s been a while since our last blog, but we are back at it now that the holidays are over. As you know, 2015 was a crazy year for All Things New, for Jess and I personally, and for our kids in Haiti. We added a new member to our family (Sophie), we moved our children to a new facility, and (this is almost the same but a little different) our children have a new home with new people taking care of them. In fact, I am thinking through a blog series to try and tell the story of the move to Hope Rising from our kids’ perspective. It is difficult to imagine all that they have been through in their lives in general and even all of the changes over the past year. We know that we have 2 more of the children who live at the orphanage to write about and then we are also going to write about each of our older kids that we continue to minister to so that you get to meet them as well. We hope that you have enjoyed getting to know our kids through these blogs and that it builds a desire in you to come down to Haiti and really meet them face-to-face.
Today, I really do want to wish you a Happy New year. With Christmas over and a new year just beginning there is always a feeling of hope for how the year is going to go sprinkled with a fear of the unknown and topped off with the knowledge that we cannot control what GOD has in store for us in 2016. Along those lines, do you remember when New Year’s resolutions were so popular? It is funny that they have become almost a thing of the past. I remember, when I was younger, everyone had a New Year’s resolution. You wrote a paper about it in your English class, you talked about it with your family, and you really set your mind to do something new or better than you did the previous year. It seems like, almost all of a sudden, people just stopped setting them. This is neither bad nor good, it is just a neutral observation. I really feel like people stopped setting resolutions because they were just never reached. For instance, people always talk about gyms being filled at the beginning of the year with people who have a new goal to get in shape. When I am in the states, I get to use the gym at our apartment complex, and it is almost like people have set reverse resolutions. I used to go in there at 6:30 or 7:00 and there would be at least a couple of other people in and out while I was there. The past week there have been exactly 2 people that I have seen.
You may be wondering what this has to do with All Things New, and that is a valid question. I am not trying to talk people into making a resolution this year (I am actually pretty sure I have never made one, and if I have I’m sure I didn’t keep it) because when we think of resolutions we think of losing weight, being nicer, working more (or less), being a better mother or father, etc. All of these things are things we think that, if we do them, we will enjoy our life more or become better people. I think that is probably one of the reasons that resolutions very rarely work. Losing weight will not make you a better man. Being nicer will not make you a “better version” of yourself. Even becoming a better mom or dad will not ultimately fulfill you or make you become the person that you were created to be. These things are fine, but they do not complete us. They can make us skinnier, nicer, harder working, miserable people who are trying to find the one thing in our life that fulfills us and constantly looking in the wrong places. Here’s the deal:
Only GOD can fulfill us.
Now, I know that is not earth shattering or ground-breaking to many of us. Theoretically, we know that GOD is the only true source of fulfillment. But is that how we truly live our lives? I can get caught up in trying to make the lives of our kids better, trying to make sure our employees are taken care of, and even trying to make sure that my wife and new daughter are happy and none of those things are ultimately fulfilling. They are all good, and they are all part of learning how to be the man that GOD has called me to be, but they are not ultimate. When these things become ultimate our lives begin to lose their meaning and we begin to search all over again for that thing that truly fulfills us. We treat it like it is a hidden treasure and every time we find it, something comes into our lives to take it away again and we have to start the search all over. And it is not always difficult things that take away our treasure. Sometimes it is something wonderful that changes our lives and becomes our treasure, sometimes it is something terrible that makes us think our treasure was taken from us, and sometimes it is the mundane everyday living of life that makes us forget that there even is a treasure.
Oh that we would never change, lose, or forget that there is a treasure.
Last night I read Luke 10 as part of my reading plan, and Luke tells us that the 72 people that Jesus sent out to do his work came back and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus, in the way only Jesus can, replied to them, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” Can you even imagine the scene? These men came back so excited that even demons had to listen to them and do what they said, and that would be exciting. But Jesus tells them that this is not a reason to rejoice. We do not rejoice because we have power, we do not lose our joy because things are difficult, and we do not forget our joy because things are stagnant. We rejoice simply because our names are written in Heaven.
Again, I am not pushing us to make a resolution, in fact, I would rather us not do something that will cause us to put our hope in something else and ultimately end up failing us anyway. I am saying let’s not change, lose, or forget our treasure!
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21