At the beginning of a new year, tabloids often make predictions of what will happen in the year. I have absolutely no knowledge of what the new year will bring to me, or to you, or to our nation, or to the world. What I know is this: Whether fortune or misfortune comes our way, each of us is responsible for how we handle ourselves in the year ahead and for the contribution we can make to the lives of others.
With this in mind, I hope you will be encouraged and challenged by the advice of some wise people.
Abraham Lincoln reflected, “I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to the light I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right—stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”
John Wesley counsels us, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
Leo Buscaglia advises, “Don’t spend your precious time asking, ‘Why isn’t the world a better place?’ It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is, ‘How can I make it better?’ To that question, there is an answer.”
Jon Gordon shares, “I pledge to be a positive person and a positive influence on my family, friends, co-workers and community. I promise to be positively contagious and share more smiles, laughter, encouragement and joy with those around me. I vow to stay positive in the face of negativity. When I am surrounded by pessimism, I will choose optimism. When I feel fear, I will choose faith. When I want to hate, I will choose love. When I want to be bitter, I will choose to get better. When I experience a challenge, I will look for opportunity to learn and grow. When faced with adversity, I will find strength. When I experience a set-back, I will be resilient. When I meet failure, I will fail forward towards future success…. I believe I’m here for a reason and my purpose is greater than my challenges. I believe that being positive not only makes me better, it makes everyone around me better. So today and every day I will be positive and strive to make a positive impact on the world.”
Whatever the prognosticators predict for the new year, if we follow the counsel of these wise folks, we will make something good of 2017 and of the rest of our lives
—Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.