Time for resolutions
Matthew 22:34-40 “When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. ‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ He said to him, ‘‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
By the time you read this, we’ll already be into the new year — 2019! Many of you may be contemplating a list of A New Year’s resolutions. A New Year’s resolution is when a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life. There is just something about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. In reality, there is no difference between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. Nothing mystical occurs at midnight on Dec. 31. Common New Year’s resolutions are commitments to quit smoking, to stop drinking, to manage money more wisely, and to spend more time with family. By far, the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, in conjunction with exercising more and eating more healthily. These are all good goals to set.
When we think about own personal lives, the end of the year is the time when it’s easy to kind of sum it all up and realize that despite all of the good things that might have happened, you are kind of aware of all of the ways that you fell short.
So this year, I recommending a different sort of resolution. This passage is going to be my focus all through the year. These issues: loving God, devoting ourselves to God, deepening our passion for God and loving, accepting, serving and even sacrificing for the people around us where we live, work and play — are things we will come back to again and again. It’s what is going to solidify my strategy about how I relate to the community around me: these two things, loving God and loving the people around us. This is not new. All I am saying about the year 2019 is to make it explicit. Hold yourself accountable to it again and again.
Let us be reminded again and again this year that we need to love the Lord our God with all our heart and mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Let this be our resolution.
Editor’s note: The Rev. Dr. Scott Stewart is the pastor of Pea Ridge United Methodist Church and Brightwater Methodist Church. He can be contacted at revjstew[email protected] or 479-6599519.