It starts with you. And me. God has given each of us, individually, another year to make a difference, despite how things in this world are in a colossal mess morally, economically, politically and spiritually. We turn on the news, we read the headlines, and we get discouraged, wondering if THIS will be the year Jesus will return and take us home. After all, it's never been this bad.
Or has it? One has only to read the Bible to answer that question. Civilizations, once powerful and dominant, become literal ruins and cease to exist. Yet into those messes God calls not on an entire nation to alter the course of history; instead, He seeks out individuals to do His work: Abraham, Joseph, David, Daniel, Jesus, to name a few.
This year, 2012, I have to wonder what I, alone, can do to make a difference. On the moral front, I cannot stop a conflict with Iran or force other nations to treat Israel with respect. I cannot rid the planet of sexual abuse, promiscuity or even divorce. What I can do is be kinder to my husband. I can read his plethora of political emails that he forwards to me (along with everyone listed in his address book) and take the time to discuss them with him, instead of hitting the delete button as they appear on my screen.
I can refuse to nag him about the projects he starts and fails to complete and instead, with a kind attitude, offer to help him get them finished. I can pray for him and my entire family more diligently, knowing that there is no better gift I can give those I love.
I cannot change the woes of education, the profession which challenges me daily, but I can listen more purposefully to hurting students who share with me their struggles with sexual identity, self-inflicted abuse, financial problems and messed up families. I can determine to teach them the blessing of giving by using their theatrical talents to raise money for other countries, towns and specific individuals, and I can help them become better speakers so that they will have the confidence to make a difference in their own way, in their own time.
This year, 2012, instead of being frustrated at the stupidity of Capitol Hill's economic answers, knowing they are grounded in a hopeless morass of ignorance, small-mindedness and greed, I will concentrate on my own life so I can work to get out of debt and live within my means.
I can be more frugal in my own spending and more charitable in my giving. I can use my credit cards more responsibly and refuse to enter that amazing shoe store, no matter how stunning those stiletto heels would look on my feet.
This year, 2012, instead of complaining about my community's high taxes and large welfare rolls, I can find ways in which I can help make it better.
I can plant a tree and sweep a sidewalk, recycle and encourage my students to value education and bring their talents back to our county instead of using them elsewhere. I can focus on how much better off Fort Scott is this year than last and give of my time and energy to improve the areas that still need work.
This year, 2012, instead of proclaiming the doom and gloom of society's spirituality, I can work on my own relationship with Christ.
I can study God's Word as an avenue to open my heart to obey what it says, and in the process I pray I increase in humility, honesty and integrity.
I will remember that I am His representative on earth and seek to recognize the incredible opportunities for evangelism He gives me every single day.
This year, 2012, I pray our New Year's resolutions become all about the unique contribution we can make as individuals, and hopefully, one person at a time, we can impact our neighborhood, our town, our state, our nation and our world.