“Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead. I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you.” Phil. 3:12-15
It’s the last day of the year, again. I say it that way because I’ve had opportunity now to contemplate this day now 44 different times. And I want so badly for it to matter somehow, which is exactly why Phil. 3:12-15 is my favorite passage for today.
Sometimes Ecclesiasti-itis paralyzes me. Here are a few for instances. I stood in an elevator this weekend and studied 10 other strange faces. It reminded me how big the world is and how small I am. It was a different kind of claustrophobia – not a “Get-me-out-of-here-I-can’t-breathe” kind of thing, but a “Who am I?” and “Who-do-we-think-we-are-to-think-we’re-so-big” kind of thing. I haven’t completed a book yet for the simple reason that there are so many books written already. I started to write one a few years ago, but then I read another one that said many of the same things I was trying to say, only better. I read somewhere that 92% of people think they have a book in them. See? Everyone has something to say (or everyone wants to be heard), and most of it has already been said. I look down at the increasingly wrinkly skin on my hands as I type, and it reminds me that every physical thing, including me, is in decline. It is likely that in just 3 generations, no one is even going to know my name…even if I do write a book. Solomon was right. There is nothing new under the sun, and everything really is a chasing after the wind. These are not truths that depress me; they are reality – reminders that there is only one significant way to life my life.
In The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler wrote that “Ecclesiastes is in the Bible so that nothing would be in our heart but Jesus.”
Apart from relationship with Christ, no resolution is going to make your life more complete. No change in circumstance, no earthly gain. It doesn’t matter what is past, and it doesn’t matter what is ahead – the only pursuit that has lasting significance and joy is Jesus. Does that mean that we shouldn’t make goals or try to leave our mark? Of course not! It does mean, though, that God alone gives those things value and makes them truly enjoyable.
That’s what I want for 2013. We can forget what is behind and reach forward to what is ahead, with the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus as our goal. And if there is a day we find ourselves tempted to think differently, may God reveal it to us.