I was about 17 years old. It was New Year’s Eve and I was working. I was working at an all night fast food hamburger place in Dallas until 3:00 AM. I resented working that evening. After all, it seemed that everyone else was with friends or had some place to go. Here I was on New Year’s Eve working! I was not happy.
We were very, very busy that evening and into the night. Just before midnight, two guys (who appeared to be in their late twenties) walked up to the outside window to place their order. They began to argue over who was first in line. They both had obviously been drinking and in fact were quite drunk. They began to fight, hitting one another in the face. Finally, the police separated them and each, with a bloody face, went away.
Later I thought about that moment. Here we were, minutes from a New Year and these grown men usher in the year fighting over a place in line at a fast food restaurant. Wow.
Surely, there are better ways to begin the New Year. Yet, if we are not careful, we can let a great opportunity slip by.
We can make the same old mistakes, carry out the same destructive habits, and use the same poor judgement in our relationships.
Or, we can begin the New Year thanking God for his grace.
- We can thank God for his forgiveness for our sins of 2017.
- We can pray for clarity and self-control regarding our hearts, our actions, and our intentions as we begin 2018.
- We can ask God to give us the power and strength to overcome bad, destructive habits.
- We can pray that God will help us to use better judgement in terms of our relationships and friendships in the coming year. Yes, we can make better choices.
2017 is almost over. I can do nothing about the actions of others during this year or even my own actions. The year is over.
As you and I enter the New Year, however, we can get serious about our “next action.” Start small. Whatever you face, no matter how seemly small and insignificant, by the grace of God, make the next action one that gives God pleasure.
You and I can start now.