I love calendars, especially the twelve month variety with a beautiful picture on each page. They usually arrive in December, and I enjoy selecting the ones I will use during the coming year. On the first of January, I hang two new calendars, one in my study and another in my shop, while Marti does the same in the kitchen and at her desk. Of course, we must discard the old calendars, but I can never do so without a moment of reflection. Twelve pages of numbers tossed into heaps of household trash, but what momentous events those rumpled pages represent. Days of our lives now gone, like fallen leaves of autumn.
A Year Is Gone
Once it was mine, but I can claim it no longer. I can relive its moments in the corridors of memory, but have no power to recall a single minute. It came to me twelve months ago, a precious gift from God, but now it is gone, never to be retrieved. It entered my life on an errand of mercy, offering golden opportunities to act on behalf of my eternal welfare and the good of others. But now it has slipped through my grasp, and I realize I failed to fully appreciate its valuable gifts and to utilize many of its boundless opportunities. How quickly a year flies away! Where does it go so fast? When I was a child, twelve months seemed eternal. Now it seems like only a few weeks.
A Year Is Not Gone
Does my act of discarding the calendar obliterate the year into non-existence? No, for it is locked forever into history, an unalterable record of my wisdom and folly. It was an eternal part of the activity of my soul over the course of three-hundred-sixty-five days. I can take back no actions, I can erase no mistakes. Its history now stands forever to testify to a significant portion of my life. I shall one day receive rewards for the opportunities I improved, and shall give account for the portions I have squandered.
Its well-spent days have strengthened me and aided others. Its wasted days have documented my apathy, my procrastination, and my misplaced priorities. On some of its days, I spoke words I wish I could now recall, but alas, they will never die, forever reverberating in someone’s mind, and waiting to face me at the Day of Judgment. The sins of one day reach forward to influence the next, to make the bands of iniquity stronger. The godliness of one day prepared my soul for greater devotion to God on the next, and strengthened the inner man for increased exploits for Christ. Can I blot out the actions and influences of the year gone by? Can I declare that the wrongs of last year will have no baneful consequence upon the year to come? The year is gone, and yet it is not gone. It even now reaches forward to affect my life today and to face me in eternity.
A New Year Has Dawned.
God has made us creatures of time, although remade in Christ, we will one day be citizens of Heaven and that eternal day when time shall be no more. Until that day comes, it is essential to think about time for we are instructed to redeem it for the interests of Christ’s Kingdom. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” It’s good to have a New Year’s Day to reflect upon our use of precious days gone by, and make new commitments for days to come, should God grant them. It’s good to remember those days we wish we could relive, so that we may, by God’s grace, have fewer regrets when we look back upon this new year twelve months from now. Let us not allow the new year’s demarcation to pass without serious reflection upon these sobering truths. “Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
G. N. Barkman received his BA and MA from BJU and later founded Beacon Baptist Church in Burlington, NC where has pastored for over 40 years. In addition, Pastor Barkman broadcasts over several radio stations in NC, VA, TN, and the island of Granada and conducts annual pastors’ training seminars in Zimbabwe, Africa. He and his wife, Marti have been blessed with four daughters and six grandchildren.