For as long as I can remember I have had the practice that whenever I read a magazine, I would always start at the end and work my way towards the front. I can’t really say for sure why that is. Maybe it’s because nearly all magazines, at least when I was a child, placed the majority of their photos at the end and that was what interested me most at the time. Although that was some time ago, even today whenever I pick up a magazine, whether it is for casual reading or intense investigation, I still find myself wanting to begin my journey at the end instead of the beginning, as the publisher designed it to be read.
Now, that approach may be fine when it comes to reading, but when it comes to journeying through the book that we call life, unfortunately it’s just not the way it works. Think about it for a moment. What if we could go to the end of our lives first and see how things would work out and then have the ability to be able rewind to the beginning and make all the necessary life adjustments that would in the end change the entire picture. But, as I said, that’s not the way it works. And because that’s not the way things work, sadly it means that we must live each day always pushing forward and never having the opportunity to go back and press the delete button to erase those things we would love to forget.
What if living was like writing a research paper? After having done all the necessary research on how our life is to be lived we would be given the opportunity to create several drafts before deciding on which one we would approve for the final submission. Imagine having a life “spellcheck” that would catch potential errors before they impact our lives or the lives of others. How great that would be!
As we approach the end of 2013 and are already finding ourselves looking into 2014, we cannot go back in time and erase the poor choices we made, as well the ones that should have been made but weren’t. But what we can do as the new year is fast approaching, is follow the wise counsel of the author, Stephen Covey, and prepare to begin with the end in mind. In his highly successful book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey lists as principle two the idea that if we want to be successful at anything, we must fast forward in our mind as to how we would like the end to be and then begin to work towards that end. Which means that every decision and life choice should always be viewed in the light of the reality that they can potentially create. And for the Christian, this is nothing new because God’s word is replete with counsel as to how one’s present life decisions take root in our lives and ultimately bear fruit in kind.
So, as we close out the old and prepare to move toward the new, let us do so with the understanding that every current choice we make, large or small, in some way will help to create the end that we will encounter this same time next year, If God’s willing that time should last. And although we don’t have a delete button to erase our past mistakes, If we grant God access to our lives, His grace can and will