We’ve come to the end of 2020. 2021 starts tomorrow. Many of us like to make New Year’s resolutions, which gives us something else to feel guilty about when we fail to keep them. Anyway, I thought of a number of potential New Year’s resolutions for my readers, to a total of 14 (resolutions to a total of 14, readers to a total probably far less than 14). These are for Christians and non-Christians. You’ll be able to figure out which potential resolution might apply to you. Some might apply to me. They are in no particular order, except that I have kept the most challenging and perhaps even the most controversial for the last three.
1/Increase your church giving by 1% of your income. The Christian organization emptytomb.org has research that shows that the American Protestant church as a whole currently gives about 2.5% of its increase to the church. (Roman Catholic giving is similar.) The figures from capital letter challenged emptytomb show 2.9% giving in 1916, 3.2% in 1933, 3.2% in 1955, and 2.5% in 2007. Here is a link:
So if you are typical, and giving 2.5%, you might consider giving 3.5% in 2021. Granted, you will probably starve to death, but Columbus took a chance and it worked out for him; it might for you also. Christians are bitterly upset that the state taxes away our wealth from us at an horrific rate, but we steal 75% of God’s tithe from Him. He might be telling us: theft is a round game, and more than one can play.
If you are a non-Christian with no desire to support any Christian church, consider upping your charitable giving by 1% to some group God would approve of if He existed, which of course He doesn’t, but if He did He would approve of it. You’re smart enough to figure out what that might be. Hint: not a pro-abortion group.
2/Resolve to read six pretty good books in a year. That is only one every two months, so it is not an impossible goal. Here are some potential options:
2a/Read at least one famous novel which you’ve heard of but never got around to reading. A suggestion? Of course. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Or David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.
2b/Read at least one unread children’s classic. If you need a suggestion, I’ll volunteer Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. In the last year I know of two adults over 65 who read it and loved it. You might be a third adult to love it.
2c/Read one book of straight history. History gives us a perspective on life which we need. Life is more than just what is happening in the world right now. We tend to get lost in the constant present.
3/Walk one mile a week. Our bodies are meant to be used. I remember when I was in my mid 20s one day I suddenly got an urge to walk outside a little bit. The walk probably was around one-half mile, longer or shorter, but I’ve never forgotten it. I learned a lot that day. Again, perspective is provided. The world is a wonderful place, and a walk helps us remember that.
4/Turn off Main Sleaze Media completely, for as long as you can stand it. They are lying liars telling us lies. They are clueless as to how the world is put together. Begin to free your mind from these trite scumbags.
5/Do one house or yard project in the course of the year.
6/Battle to lose five pounds. I didn’t say lose five pounds. I said battle to lose five pounds. It probably won’t be easy, but a key is never giving up.
7/Be on time for things.
8/Cut your normal TV viewing by some reasonable goal. From 20 hours a week to 15? Fine. Don’t set an impossible goal, but set a goal. Then even if you miss the goal, you have come close and you have made a start. Most television is drivel. Begin to free up more of your time. Remember, you might be plugged into #2, so you may need more time to read. Or, #3, you may need more time to walk.
9/Write a thank you note to someone. It could be a teacher you admired in grade school or high school. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s man from underground told us that the scientific definition of man is “the ungrateful biped.” Pretty doggone close. We seldom say thank you. But usually we have a lot for which to be thankful.
10/Invite one person or one family to your home for a meal. Top off the night with a DVD or perhaps just conversation. We seldom make a real effort to get to know people well. We need people, and they need us. (They haven’t realized that yet, but then neither have we.)
11/Read the Bible all the way through in a year. The Bible is not easy reading, and is pretty long, so there is no disgrace in cutting your goal to reading half the Bible in one year, half in the next. This goal is appropriate to both Christians and non-Christians. Few Christians have read the Bible very much. Non-Christians? The Bible is central to our western civilization. At the worst, you can begin to see what all the fuss was about.
12/If you are a non-Christian, attend church at least once in the year. Wear a tie (just so you’ll be different), listen quietly, be polite, and put $10.00 in the collection plate.
13/Whether you are a Christian or non-Christian, pray intermittently through the year for one person who is either an enemy of you or an enemy of God (or an enemy of both). Or alternatively, pray intermittently for one person who may have some very good qualities but who still needs practical wisdom or needs salvation, or needs something.
14/Pray intermittently that God would send American blacks 10,000 people, young and old, male and female, who want to love Him and obey Him, and who will learn to stand bravely for His truth. This Black Lives Matter stuff is horrible. Woke white liberals hate God, and don’t respect black people. Black people are going to have to turn to God as He really exists in the Bible, and stop believing lies–or accept the (bad) consequences of believing and acting on those lies. Nothing is going to change for the better until you turn to God.
Well, there they are–14 potential New Year’s resolutions. They are all free, and no salesman will call. Or think of something that you know you really should be doing in the year ahead, and then make a start toward doing it. Even failure is better than not trying.
Also, don’t assume that 2020 was uniquely bad. We can do worse than that. Besides, we had a chance to learn a lot in 2020. An elbow to the ribs can be necessary and helpful.
Have a great year in 2021.