Matney: Enjoy a new calendar in the new year
Happy new year! The gift of a beautiful new year lies ahead of us.
A man received two, identical packages in the mail. The bright gift wrapping and the size and shape of the two packages were exactly the same. He opened the first one. In it was his outdated and well-used calendar. The calendar had doctor appointments, school activities, shopping trips, work and job schedules, bills to pay, phone numbers and many other things written on its pages.
The man opened the second gift and it was a brand-new calendar with nothing written in it. With the new calendar was a crisp, never-opened, package of seeds, and a hand written note. The note read: “Dear child, enjoy a new calendar in the new year! Sow new seeds of love and enjoy the new blessings I have for you.” The note was signed, “Your Heavenly Father.”
Of course, the used calendar represents the past. The new calendar represents the gift of the new year ahead of us. And, just as the two packages were identical, the new year has 12 months, 52 weeks and 365 days, just like last year. And, as you know, if we keep doing the same things as last year, our calendar will look the same this year. But the thing that can make a difference in this new year ahead of us can be the new seeds we sow.
First, for a new way of seeing world events, read the Bible. For a new outlook on a difficult relationship, read the Bible. Luke 8:1 says the life-changing word of God is the seed that will produce the new you and the new year.
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Sow the seed of God’s word into your own heart and mind. Familiarize yourself with passages of scripture that are relevant to the issues you are facing. And, as we “plant” the seed of God’s word in our lives, we will reap new thoughts and experience new faith, hope, love, peace and happiness in 2022.
As a local pastor, I invite you to contact me if you have questions about current events, troubled relationships, or anything else. I will be happy to talk with you and direct you to relevant portions of the Bible that can bring about new awareness and new experiences for you.
Second, let’s sow new seeds of love and kindness with our neighbors and others. Say a prayer of blessing for them, then share a word of appreciation, compliment or encouragement with them. Share a praise report with them of answered prayer and other blessings. Leave them with a gift card or thank you note or something else that will remind them of yours and God’s love.
Be intentional about sowing seeds and deeds of love. Use the new year’s calendar to plan ahead on Bible passages to read and deeds of kindness to do for others. Spontaneity is good, but so is intentional and advanced planning.
Use the new calendar to plan ahead. Instead of asking, “Where did the year go?” — do some prayerful planning and careful planting and you can be more in control of where the year goes and the harvest it will yield.
We must prioritize the sowing of relationship seeds, even as we go about our responsibilities. If we don’t, the tyranny of the urgent will overtake us. Health problems, finances and egos will dictate what we write on our new calendar. The loudest voices will drown out the voice of God.
God’s voice will be heard in frequent quiet times of Bible reading, prayer and meditation. Seeds will be watered by remembering, and retelling God’s blessings. And the harvest will be reaped, and a new calendar written, by prioritizing people before paychecks and meaningful relationships before mundane responsibilities. If relationships are the most important focus in life, why are our calendars filled with tasks to do, rather than appointments for quality time with God and others?
I realize that working our jobs and caring for our households and other responsibilities is essential. So, how can we prioritize relationships in the hustle and bustle of life? It starts by compassionately thinking about how God values people. The nurse and the neighbor, the doctor and the dentist, the boss and the businessman, our children, the grands and the greats, each of them is highly valued by God. Now, put them on your calendar with a plan to bless them.
Enter into work relationships with the idea of blessing your boss or coworkers, rather than simply seeing them as a paycheck. Take them an inspirational book or article you’ve read. Bake cookies for them and include a thank you note. Tell them you are praying for their family and business. Express words of kindness and appreciation to them. Do the same in the other relationships in your life; your children’s teachers, your doctor, store clerk and your neighbors.
When we’ve discovered the harvest of happiness that loving relationships with God and others will produce, we will want to sow new seeds of kindness and friendship all through the year. We will truly reap a bountiful harvest of new blessings and enjoy a new calendar in the new year.
Happy new year.
Dan Matney is the pastor at New Life Assembly of God in Avon. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.