Last, first, and every

every day countsby J. Randal Matheny, editor

What have you chosen to do on your last day of 2012? Spend the time with family members? Head to the beach or the mountains? Take a cruise in the Caribbean? Or maybe keep a regular schedule just as you have all year?

Whatever you chose to do, the day will never return to you again. Whether you end the day and the year well or badly will be a permanent brick in the edifice of your life.

Many of us place special importance on first and last things. Often, that is needed. At other times, people consider all days equal. Yesterday, a brother was concerned that my wife and I would be spending New Year’s Eve alone. We were quite happy with the prospect.

Special or not, each day has its own value, its own opportunity. And a new year does provide us moment to reflect, to ponder how to improve, to consider what we might do to be more effective, more efficient, more righteous in the will of God.

Though I quit staying up late to welcome the new year, I still review and tweak my personal mission statement, choose a Bible verse for the year, and write down a short prayer as well.

The mission statement says that “I am an evangelist. I teach people the word of God, so that they may know what God has done in their behalf and what they must do. I do this in person, in print and through the Internet.”

I have some details in there about what God has done and what people must do, but we’ll not go into those.

This and the other yearly items are posted in a software I use every day for lists, ideas, information, and my journal. So I see them almost every day, to remind me.

I put all this into English and Portuguese, but here are the verse and prayer in the former language.

My verse for 2013 is Romans 1.9: “I serve [God] with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son” (NLT).

The prayer is also a Bible verse, from 2 Thessalonians 3.1: “that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly, and be honored everywhere it goes” (NLT).

I’m hammering out some new ministry principles, not that there will be any major turns in my work, but each year brings new challenges that require some forethought. They’re not ready to roll out yet. Soon.

These days I do fewer resolutions, since my life is pretty well set. I’m working on shoring up, and growing in, the faith and learning how to be more effective in the Lord’s mission.

Those are goals that I want in front of me on the last day of the year, on the first day of 2013, and every day. How about you?

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