Time for res­o­lu­tions

The Times (Northeast Benton County) - - CHURCH - SCOTT STE­WART Pea Ridge United Methodist and Bright­wa­ter Methodist churches

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.

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