Lessons from 2020
What a year this has been. We certainly have a few lessons learned from the events of 2020 to share with future generations. As we prepare to enter a new year, we may find that this is a good time to reflect on what we learned in the past 365 days and how we may apply these lessons to our daily lives in 2021. In fact, here are a few lessons worth some consideration.
1. Take life one day at a time. In Matthew 6, Jesus taught us to forego anxiety about tomorrow. It is today that ought to receive our concern (Matthew 6:25-34). The word which Jesus used for anxiety means “split-mindedness,” or a division of mind which keeps us from accomplishing tasks set before us. Have you experienced a divided mind in 2020? I think we all have. We worry about so many things over which we have little to no control. What matters then is how we approach the moment of today. We have no idea what tomorrow holds, so hold fast to God now. Let Him take care of the future.
2. Life is valuable. There are times when our self-absorption leads to become rather callous about the lives of others. The pandemic has laid bare our political, professional, racial, economic, and religious divisions. I hope and pray that we can enter 2021 with a fresh perspective on how Jesus calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love and pray for our enemies.
3. Friendships are worth more of our time investment. Isolation and “social distancing” may have advantages in preventing illness, but they sure do affect us negatively in terms of relationships. Isn’t it obvious that we are made for fellowship with God and with one another? Even social media and technology cannot substitute for in-person relationship building. I believe the pandemic has, once and for all, illustrated the truth of the old proverb which says, “No man is an island.” How can you form better, more lasting relationships in 2021? Are you too busy for your friends and for your church?
4. Reevaluate priorities in terms of the gospel. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), meaning that the number one priority of life is to be an active, thriving citizen of the Kingdom of God. In other words, one cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). Splitting our devotion between God and other selfish pursuits only serves to limit us. If there is a time to commit fully to the Lord, to repent of sin, and to get right with God, it’s now. We simply must become radically monotheistic.
5. The Bible has solid answers to the world’s problems. God’s written word continues to amaze me with how it relates accurately to every aspect of daily life. Isn’t the Bible relevant to all of us? I hope 2021 is the year that we become even more solidly committed to reading and understanding the Word. Now is a tremendous time to find a Sunday School class or to get involved in one of our new Cultivate Groups.
6. Take more time for good self-care. The number of people who suffer from anxiety and depression has understandably skyrocketed this year. Practicing good self-care is one of the great keys to helping us with those times that we get down. Good self-care involves things like eating right, exercising, slowing down our pace of life, fellowship, worship, and the like. We are told in scripture how Jesus got away by himself on many occasions to pray. If this was important for Jesus, it is doubly so for us! And by all means, seek medical help and professional counseling should the need arise. There are many well qualified and deeply caring individuals who can help us with trauma, depression, and illness.