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Resolved

Resolved

I’ve never been one to go all out on a resolution for the new year. I can’t really point to a good reason. It may be because I have never had enough passion to do much of anything following all of the Christmas sugar cookies. It may be because I just don’t believe I would ever really follow through. It may be because I am afraid of what others will say. Late in 2020 I decided to do some research to find out what the most popular resolution usually is. As you might expect, eating better and getting more exercise top the list every year. I also was curious as to the reason/s people usually failed at keeping their resolutions. I found the three main reasons to be very interesting. The top three reasons for failure were always the same no matter what the resolution was.

  • The first reason for failure is a lack of understanding or lack of knowledge about the resolution itself. For example, if I decide I want to eat healthier and don’t have a basic understanding of how different foods impact my desire to eat more food, my success would be very short lived. If I decide I am going to eat healthy by only eating carrots and spinach (heaven forbid) I would not be able to handle the cravings and hunger that would soon show up because of the many missing nutrients and tastes my body required. We need at least a basic understanding of what we are committing to in order to have success at following through. Often we fail at our new resolve simply because we lack understanding.
  • The second most common reason for failing to follow through with a new resolution is actually counterintuitive. Sometimes we are just too excited over the commitment itself. That’s right! We engage purely on an emotional level. Sometimes we make an emotional resolution because someone else told us we could stand to lose a few pounds. Maybe we saw a great re-run of a Richard Simmons video from 1980. Maybe we were clicking around on YouTube and caught a glimpse of that healthy human specimen that is exactly our age or even ten years older. In all cases we made an emotional choice to resolve to eat healthier. We were so excited and joyous that we just were not prepared when the first sign of trouble confronted us. The first person to smile back and say...well good luck with that healthy eating thing sows a seed of cowardness. The first time we try to find our secret healthy food on the menu at Applebee’s only to realize the potato cheese soup and the rack of ribs will not work as a substitute puts fear in our heart and hunger in our stomach. So often we make an emotional decision. When that emotion is countered we simply turn and run.
  • The final reason for failure sneaks up on us little by little. We work hard to plan out our resolution. We gather information. We study about healthy diet options. We research and plan for success. We make a real commitment to success. We write down goals and tell our friends what we are doing. We seemingly do everything correctly. We have real commitment, and real knowledge. However, we also have one other thing creeping at our back door. It’s the one other thing that never leaves us. It looms, tugs, and weights at the strongest and most committed among us. It’s called LIFE. Sometimes we fail to continue our resolution because life drowns it out little by little. The flame blows sideways at first mostly unnoticed. Then, over time, the duties and concerns of life cause the flame to flicker. Then almost as expected, almost with intentionality right when we are the most weary and the most busy, a final puff of wind comes along, and the flicker becomes a small curl of smoke, and then our resolve disappears completely almost as though it never existed.

In Matthew 13 Jesus tells one of his clearest parables. We know it most commonly as the Parable of the Sower. It tells a simple story of a farmer dispersing his seed. In those times a farmer simply scattered seed. Some would land on the hard path and be eaten by birds or trampled immediately. Some seed would land on rocky ground where a quick shower would provide some water and mix with sunshine causing the seed to hastily germinate. Still other seeds would land on soil and mix with thorns and weeds. It would quickly begin to grow but over a long period of time the thorns and weeds would choke out the good plant. Finally, there was the seed that landed on the good soil. This seed grew and reproduced other seeds and fruit thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times the original seed.

As we make our 2021 resolutions, let’s remember the lesson of the farmer. It’s our job to sow seeds. That part is simple. Let’s also be reminded that we need to be a student of our resolution. Our resolution should be made with great enthusiasm and commitment, however, it cannot last on emotion alone. We have to have both a head and heart commitment to keep us steady when things get difficult. Finally, we must guard our resolution. Life happens. We have to earn a living, raise our children, do the business of the church, take care of loved ones. In 2020 we had to fight disease, bear the weight of political rhetoric, find part time work, and clear many other hurdles. Life can be a distraction to things that often start out as resolved priorities.

It doesn't matter if it is your 2021 resolution or your walk with Christ. We must do all we can to remember to take care of the seed. It must have water and nutrients. It must have good soil. On occasion we have to get down on our knees and pull a few weeds. The fruit produced and increased in the end is well worth it.

Eric Bowman

 

Matthew 13:18-23 (NLT)
18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: 19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. 20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. 22 The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. 23 The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”


Eric Bowman ovalEric is our associate pastor, working with outreach and youth ministry as well as adult discipleship and growth. Eric retired from a 28-year career in public education as a high school band director in 2019 and is now living his lifelong dream as a pastor.  Eric and his wife, Diana, continue to live in Henry County where they have been lifetime residents. They "raised" three children and are now making their best attempt at "raising" themselves. 

 


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