The end of another year is almost here. Many are busy with end-of-the-year activities, vacations, and family events. It is a busy time.
But a New Year is just on the horizon. I have just started scheduling appointments for March.
There is always a need to stop, evaluate, make plans, and set goals. You really should do this several times a year. Nevertheless, the end of the year is a natural time to take stock of where you are and set direction for where you want to go.
Several areas of life should be considered in this evaluation and planning. Your health is a primary but often overlooked part of life. This is more than joining a gym and saying I need to exercise more. You need to examine your health. How are your strength, endurance, and flexibility? Are you eating properly? Is stress or other issues affecting you in negative ways? Be honest and make specific plans to address these needs.
Your family is another area. How is your relationship with your spouse? How can you improve it? The same thing with your kids or parents. Again take specific steps.
The most important is your relationship with the Lord. It is important to have regular check-ups because the world is always pulling us away from Christ. I have experienced this pulling away because I have left the pastorate and am now at Erskine Seminary. My rhythm of life has changed drastically in the last six months. This is an important time of evaluation and planning for my health, family, and personal walk with Jesus.
In evaluating the spiritual disciplines, I know there has been a drop in my regular deep devotional times. This must be addressed. In part, it is the change in daily and weekly schedule that has been the cause. But to fix this problem requires extended time to pray and plan.
There are also the regular end-of-year issues. What Bible reading plan to use for next year? Pick it now and have it ready for January 1st. What books to read and projects to plan for the new year?
Now is also the time to plan your prayer life. How many of you plan out your prayers? As pastors, this can be helpful in the life of the church but is good for everyone. Planning who and what to pray for in the new year. Developing a calendar reminder of things to pray for next year keeps you from forgetting to pray for important events and times in the coming year. Some people like to pick a theme to pray for throughout the year. Now is also the time to develop and/or evaluate your list of lost people whom you are praying for their salvation.
In the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, the title character gives a famous line,
“Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
How true this is? Psalm 39 addresses this idea of how short and fast life is.
“O LORD, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days, let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah - Psalm 39:4-5
The world and the Bible both see this truth. Now as we end the year, it is a time to stop look around, evaluate, and plan. For life is short and the days are fast.