The door to 2019 has closed marking the end of our first decade in the 21st century. I didn’t see all the contraptions featured in “The Jetsons” but I did note changes that, centuries earlier, were only described in science fiction.
As a society, are we better off as a result of man’s accomplishments these past ten (10) years? Only history will determine that. The Apostle Paul warned the church at Corinth to “judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Cor. 4:5). We would do well to follow his advice. I can, however, share what I learned in 2019.
To learn is defined as “acquiring knowledge or skill by study, instruction, or experience.” As I prayed over this annual exercise of “things learned”, three (3) areas surfaced which fit within the range of this definition. The things I learned in 2019 are the practice of gratitude, the power of simplicity, and the privilege of family.
The practice of gratitude taught me to appreciate God and to be thankful for His provision, His protection, and His presence. Failure to practice this spiritual habit often resulted in envy, jealousy, greed and bitterness—fostering dissatisfaction and discontentment. Practicing gratitude equipped me to live life emotionally confident and spiritually content (2 Pet. 1:2-3).
Also read, “Gratitude”
The power of simplicity redirected my attention from the trivial to the important things of life. Jesus sent out His disciples with the bare necessities to accomplish their extraordinary mission (Luke 9:3; 10:4). The pursuit of simplicity helped me to eliminate “the extraneous” from my life. This included both things and relationships that hindered my spiritual journey by keeping me tethered to this world (1 John 2:15-17).
The privilege of family reminded me of the value of memories, tradition, and heritage. As my family came together to celebrate my 70th birthday, they shared bittersweet stories and family customs with a new generation. It was within the confines of the family that I witnessed our collective identity and shared values entrusted to us by our parents and other relatives long gone but not forgotten. The privilege of family began at Creation (Gen. 1:28; 2:24) and its importance is still critical as we enter this new decade.
Am I better off as a result of the things I learned? Absolutely! With each experience, I have learned to see God with greater clarity—His ways and His works—His goodness and His greatness. It is with this renewed clarity that I can focus on: #1 what’s truly important, #2 what’s of eternal value, and #3 what glorifies God.
Now it’s your turn. What did you learn in 2019?