On January 4th there are statistical reports about new year’s resolutions.
How do they find out?
There are also radio reporters giving advice about how to frame your resolutions (small and easily achievable).
What are our resolutions about living lives of faith?
Is it too late?
Too late for our churches?
We might be instructed by The Fourth Wiseman of the story by Henry van Dyke.
Arteban leaves home with great enthusiasm to meet the “other three” scholars at the edge of the desert. After days of riding hard he is near the meeting spot, but comes across a man who was beaten and left for dead. Arteban takes the time to warm and medicate this stranger and misses the departure time with the other three scholars. He loses days and one of his precious gifts for the king as he returns to the last city to purchase provisions for the journey west across the desert toward Bethlehem. He finds Bethlehem quiet with only stories about a child born in a stable and strange visitors (shepherds and scholars). As he is there soldiers come through town killing all the young boy children. Arteban uses the second of his three jewels to purchase mercy for the child of the woman telling him the story. Arteban follows the trail of this child, born to be king of the Jews to Egypt and back for the next 30 years. During the feast of Passover in Jerusalem he hears of the man being crucified called the “King of the Jews”. On his way to see he comes across a young woman from his country being accosted by soldiers. She asks him, a man of her home country for help. He buys her freedom with the third jewel he had brought for the King. Suddenly an earthquake, lightning and thunder shook the city. He realize that he had missed the prophesied King of Israel. With his dying breath he expressed his regret for failure in his quest to honor the new king. God spoke to him saying “whenever you provided me clothing, shelter or rescue to the least of these people you took care of me. You have indeed honored me and the child born to be the king. Well done”
Do we become focused on completing resolutions and meeting commitments?
What are the opportunities for ministry that were missed last year?
How can we recognize that stopping to care, to teach or to heal will not make us too late?
Can you resolve to change your attitude?
Living our faith will not make us late or failures.
Peter Surgenor is the Executive Director of Holmes Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center in Holmes, NY.