January 4, 2021
Smoky Mountain District
Trust in the LORD
1My son, don’t forget my instruction.
Let your heart guard my commands,
2because they will help you live a long time
and provide you with well-being.
3Don’t let loyalty and faithfulness leave you.
Bind them on your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4Then you will find favor and approval
in the eyes of God and humanity.
5Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
don’t rely on your own intelligence.
6Know him in all your paths,
and he will keep your ways straight.
7Don’t consider yourself wise.
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8Then your body will be healthy
and your bones strengthened.
9Honor the LORD with your wealth
and with the first of all your crops.
10Then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will burst with wine.
11Don’t reject the instruction of the LORD, my son;
don’t despise his correction.
12The LORD loves those he corrects,
just like a father who treats his son with favor.
Here we are, just a few days into a New Year on our calendar. Many of us have made New Year’s Resolutions, though that is not something I typically do, at least not in the usual sense. I don’t tell myself I will lose weight or exercise more or get more sleep, all “resolutions” I likely would break after just a few weeks.
Instead, I like to use this time of year to reflect on the year just ended and set a course for how I might think – and thus try to act – differently in the coming year.
For example, the New Testament lectionary passage for today is James 4:11-17. In this passage, the writer of James is admonishing followers of Jesus to be less judgmental of others. Well, I confess that admonition is definitely an area on which I need to work, so I will spend some time reflecting on that passage and consider how I might change my actions and words to match my reflections in the coming year.
In the Old Testament reading for today, the writer of Proverbs gives us much food for thought and reflection about how to guide our lives each day. We are told to
- remember what we have been taught,
- remain loyal and faithful,
- trust the Lord with all our heart and know him in everything we do while turning away from evil,
- rely on God’s knowledge and wisdom rather than our own,
- honor God with our first fruits, and
- accept the Lord’s instruction.
God, help us all to remember and reflect on your love and commitment to us, and help us to reflect that love and commitment back to you by following your guidance for our lives each and every day. Amen.