Summary: A New Year’s message. By doing just one certain thing all the other important things in life will naturally start to fall in line.
January 2, 2000
Well, it looks like we made it. Our second day safely into the new millenium. I was talking to Al Hsu the week before Christmas, and he said most preachers get to preach several messages at the beginning of a new year. You may even have opportunity a few times to preach a sermon that kicks off a new decade. But how many times in your life to get to preach a message that begins a new century? And beyond that a new millenium? Just once. That’s why I’ve known for quite some time what I would share with you today.
Whether you’ve considered it or not…
This is the century in which you will die.
That may be a rather morbid or depressing thought for the dawn of a new year, new century and new millenium. But I believe this thought holds out a tremendous challenge for us. Probably every one of us in this room will not live to the year 2100. So we are faced with the reality of what our tombstones will say. 19 something to 20 something.
I like what H.J. Brown says…
A. “Be bold and courageous. When you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you didn’t do more than the ones you did.” (H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life’s Little Instruction Book.)
There is a lot of truth in that statement. The areas of life we omit are harder to accept forgiveness from God, from others and from ourselves for than some of the sins we commit. Because constantly lying within the righteous things we don’t do is the possibility for something better.
The potential always exists in the things we are not doing right now for dreams to come true for wishes and hopes to become reality. And when it’s all said and done, those hopes, those dreams, those aspirations, those possibilities and potential – if we have not come to peace with what could have been, what might have been, or what should have been – we risk in our later years only having glimpses of a life that never materialized. We risk spending our final days watching life slowly disappear like a vapor that lingered here for a moment, but really didn’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. Yes, when we look back on life, we very well may regret the things we didn’t do a whole lot more than we regret the things we did.
So we could take a step in the right direction and resolve to:
Spend more time with family
Continue our education
Do more for the community
Find a cause to defend
Take up a new hobby
Enjoy the outdoors more
Travel to places we’ve never been
Tell someone we love them
Become fluent in a second language
B. Yes, there are many, many good things we could do with the remaining time we have in life. But if we were to narrow it all down – if we were to do only one thing, and concentrate on it for the rest of our lives – what should that one thing be?
And when it’s all said and done, wouldn’t you like to have the peace and sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing you chose the right thing?
And what would you think if I were to tell you that by doing just one certain thing all the other important things in life would naturally start to fall in line?
What is this one thing? The answer is found in the Bible. Colossians 4:2.
C. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians 4:2)
D. THESIS: We should make prayer our main priority in the new millenium.
TRANISTION: If we do only one thing, we should devote ourselves to prayer.
I. “DEVOTE YOURSELVES TO PRAYER”
A. The word “devote” is also translated as “to adhere to, to persist in, or to busy one’s self with.”
When I learned that “devote” means “busy yourself,” I asked myself a series of questions to see if this was true of me. To see if I was really devoted to prayer.
B. Are you devoted to prayer? Answer these questions to help determine your answer: (I’ve included these same questions in your bulletin).
1. Yes / No When others refer to you, are they likely to say, “He/She is a person of prayer?”
2. Yes / No When you tell someone, “I’ve been busy,” is it primarily because you’ve busied yourself with prayer?
3. Yes / No Do you find yourself daydreaming about the next extended period of time that you could be alone with God?
4. Which is more likely of you?
a) To say no to something because it would cut in on your prayer time. OR…