The first day of the New Year.
A gogillion people are going to make a resolution. Read more, eat healthier, exercise regularly, start school, stop smoking and the list goes on and on and on… By the end of January the vast majority of those people will have slipped back into the same old habits. The only difference is the disappointment and guilt. It eventually subsides until we start the whole process over again next year. Wash, rinse, repeat.
It reminds me of a story from the Bible. The Ninevites were supremely wicked and God’s judgment was imminent. In His grace he sent the prophet Jonah to warn them and give them a chance to change. Now most of the time we focus on Jonah, who fled from God, got tossed into the ocean, eaten by a fish, puked up on shore and finally did what God requested. But I want to look at the people from Nineveh today. To put it mildly they definitely had room for personal improvement. When confronted with their shortcomings there were a couple of things that they did AND a couple of things they didn’t do.
Here is what they didn’t do –
- They didn’t make excuses and justify their actions.
- They didn’t pass the buck and blame others.
Here is what they did do –
- They accepted responsibility for themselves.
- They enacted a plan to make lasting changes.
“Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: “Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”” – Jonah 3:3-9 NIV
The Ninevites didn’t start well but they sure did finish well which brings me to my point –
“The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.” – Ecclesiastes 7:8 NIV
I want to encourage you to be the best possible you that you can be. God has put so much inside of you and has great plans for your life. Look for an area to improve, set a goal, make a plan and gather some people around you to make it happen. Starting is important, but it’s how we finish that really matters.
2019 IS YOUR YEAR!!!