FENTON, MI – Well my friends, it’s a new day and a new year. It’s that time of year when we get a new calendar from the funeral home or our life insurance agent. Have you ever thought about that? One group depends on your death for their livelihood and the other depends on you staying alive, and both of them want you to count the days.
The New Year is a time for new beginnings and starting again, fresh and new. Throughout the history of all mankind the New Year has been a time of second chances. A time where everyone can put the past where it belongs and forge ahead with renewed vision and hope. The New Year is the annual opportunity to do right when in the past we have done wrong. As a kid growing up in West Texas while playing certain games, one could ask for a “do over”. The adult equivalent of that is the infamous “mulligan” in golf. At one time or another, we all need a “do over, mulligan or second chance,” and the New Year provides just that.
It is a time to clean house and to get rid of the old, broken and burdensome stuff of life. Those inventive people, the Italians, have a custom. As midnight on New Year's Eve approaches, the streets are cleared. There is no traffic; there are no pedestrians; even the policemen take cover. Then, at the stroke of 12, the windows of the houses fly open. To the sound of laughter, music and fireworks, each member of the family pitches out old crockery, detested ornaments, hated furniture and a whole catalogue of personal possessions which remind them of something in the past year they are determined to wipe out of their minds.
Now I am not suggesting that we clutter the streets of our Michigan cities and towns with our physical junk, but it would be most beneficial if we would do some real spiritual house cleaning and get rid of all the junk that is cluttering our souls. Now is a great time to get quiet and ask the Father to show you the encumbering garbage in your life, and to confess it and the give it the old spiritual “heave-ho.” Were you deeply hurt this past year by someone or some event? Don’t let that hurt continue to dominate your heart. The person may or may not have had evil intent, but one thing for sure, as long as you allow that pain to reside in the house of your heart, it will continue to crowd out the good and new that God has for you.
Did you make some big mistakes this past year? Did you, as we say around here, “step in stupid”? The cause or the source is really not the issue. The issue is to get clean and clutter free, and now is a great time to begin the holy, healing, and helpful process. Clean out every nook and cranny, and don’t forget to get under the bed and sink. Don’t leave any rug unturned or any baseboard untouched. And all that past guilt and grime that has been weighing you down - chunk it!
The only caution I would give is that you make sure everyone is off the street and out of your line of fire. If you are like me, there could be plenty of debris for the dumping. I hope you have a Happy New Year and a really good house cleaning.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.