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Begin 2014 with God
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"I hated my work, because when I die I will leave all I have done to a complete stranger who might be competent or a complete idiot. I will have spent a lifetime on work which will be given away. What a waste!" (My translation of Ecclesiastes 2:18-19).

2014 will soon be upon us and some will look back and reflect on a tough but manageable year while others will see a year of backbreaking disappointment and tragedy. Economically, it was pretty iffy for most. But we survived! We made it! We are going to continue to make it!

Life — as a difficult task or a wonderful trip depending upon one's point of view — has no guarantee and no road map. I asked my folks if they had received a life plan for me when I was born. Mom asked dad if he had been sharing his moonshine with me and dad blamed my question on the rise of women's lib. I guess the answer was, "No."

As I grew older, and occasionally wiser, I decided there was a God who gave me a lot of freedom, a genetic disposition that made me look like my grandfather and had plopped me down in the best country in the world to make it with what I had been given. Fortunately, God gave me some pretty good hindsight. I figured I would not make the same mistake twice — except in golf — and do what was necessary to succeed: get a lot of experience, get an education, show up for work on time, never settle for mediocrity and try to be a good man. I'm always working on the latter.

Next Wednesday, billions of people will wait for midnight wherever they may be and whenever their clock says so to celebrate the coming of a new year. What will the New Year bring? Who knows? Some will be prepared. "I resolve to be better looking, wealthier, nicer, cleaner, honester (Please, I am trying to write in parallel), and will give up smoking, drinking, gambling, never miss church and give God His due." Some will be realistic and just go with the flow.

Let's just toss that scrap of paper away and turn to Ecclesiastes, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..." Let me expound and say, "There is only one time and that time is now!" I can use the backspace on my computer and completely wipe out that past sentence and rewrite it brand spanking new and different or just omit that phrase. I can't do that with life. All the regret about my past actions won't change one iota of what was done. I can apologize, repay, relocate, you name it, but I cannot rewrite my past. I can only live in the immediate present.

There is a most difficult sentence in Ecclesiastes, "That which is, already has been: that which is to be, already has been..." My best effort comes up with this explanation, "The past which I have created lays the foundation for what is happening to me now and what will most likely happen to me in the future."

I am saying that I have been instrumental in creating what I have become. If that is the case, then I can be instrumental in creating what I can become. I can choose to learn a language — French — travel to another country — California — be a better person, exercise and accept life as a gift from God.

Now, come on, I can't write your resolutions and you can't write mine and even if we could, there is not enough time or paper to jot down everything.

But there is a time to begin and it is now! Let's begin 2014 with God! Let's begin with Jesus Christ! Let's begin with the Bible. Let's begin!

God will create the future and I just can't wait!

Thanks, God!


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