article by PAUL LIPE
opinion expressed is that of the writer
I remember how, as I began my years of study as a seminary student, the first quiz in my initial Greek class had a significant impact on all my future studies of that New Testament language. Our professor assigned us a scripture passage from the Greek New Testament which we were to translate into English. We were also required to “dissect” the passage, identifying the verbs and their tenses, explaining the context in which the passage was written, and giving our thoughts relative to the desired effect the author wanted the text to have on his readers. Fortunately for me, our teacher had selected a passage with which I happened to be very familiar, and I was able to meet his requirements in a manner superior to and unmatched by any of my efforts during my undergraduate years at the college which I had attended prior to enrolling in seminary. In short, by God’s benevolent grace, I “nailed it!” When our tests had been graded and returned to us, I don’t think that there was a single red mark of correction on my paper.
I was not a poor student, and I had taken a couple of Greek courses at the college level, but the impression made on our Greek professor was that I was a “top” student. The result of it all was that I received excellent grades in all of my future classes in that subject. Please understand that I did work hard in those classes, but I have no doubt but that my professor, as he evaluated my work, was influenced by his memory of my first efforts in his class. That good start paid good dividends.
I share this story to make this point: strong beginnings and early efforts will have an impact on our futures and the successes we realize “down the road.” I believe we shall benefit by this theory as we begin the New Year of 2023. If we start strong and work diligently, the profits that come our way can be very satisfying.
A New Year seems to offer us new beginnings. While we close out the old year with its failures and successes, we start the new with a clean slate and the opportunity to begin the year afresh by leaving behind the past year’s record and by sprinting out of the starting blocks in our pursuit of the best year ever.
What I am suggesting is that, if we want 2023 to be better than was 2022, we will be benefited by getting a strong start. Waiting a while before giving attention to the goals we hope to attain in the twelve months ahead, is not a good, winning strategy. Instead, such a tactic is almost a sure recipe for mediocrity. To delay is to default.
The strategy I wish to recommend is, I believe, one that will produce positive results. By starting strong and advancing steadily, there will be the realization of hopes that will be incentive and encouragement to continue, and even to increase our efforts. If we “play” the first quarter well, hopefully we shall have everything under control and quarter four will not be a problem.
It is my strong desire that we all are resolving to pursue a New Year blessed by a positive, maturing relationship with the Lord. May I suggest a few things that will enhance your efforts to realize that hope? The first day of the New Year is on Sunday, affording us the opportunity to begin the year by attending worship; I can think of no better way to start our “race.” In addition to the practice of regular public worship, I commend to you private worship where you spend time reading God’s Word and praying. Finally, strengthen your personal relationship with God by sharing your faith with like-minded friends where there will be mutual encouragement to run the race well.
May 2023 be blessed and the best New Year ever!