These past few days I’ve been pondering what my New Year’s resolution should be. I know January is over a month away, but the New Year has a way of arriving suddenly and unexpectedly. In fact, most of life has a way of doing that. Blink and ten years have passed but it only seems like yesterday…
Some of us treat the new year as “no big deal” but I think it is a big deal! The New Year marks the end of one chapter of our lives and the beginning of another. It’s a chance to start fresh and begin new projects, giving us an excuse to dust ourselves off and try again.
Most of my initial ideas were well-intended but superficial: write a poem every day for a year or finally get in killer shape… until a friend of mine told me his resolution was to intentionally do one act of kindness every day. Instead of focusing solely on his own improvement, he chose to make the world a better place.
One act of kindness.
I will never forget a simple observation my brother once made after wandering through a cemetery. He said that all gravestones have three things in common: a number, followed by a dash, followed by a number. This dash represents our lives and should cause us to stop and “consider the significance of life, and to consider what really matters in life when it’s all said and done.”
I want to live a meaningful life, and I realize that my New Year’s resolution should reflect that.
William Borden is one of the best examples of someone who lived a meaningful life. He was an heir to a massive fortune but, moved by his love for Christ, he chose to leave his life of comfort behind in order to bring the gospel to Muslims overseas, donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to Christian ministries. His donations would be the equivalent of millions of dollars today. When he followed God’s call to Africa, he never knew he would die at the age of 25 when his life had only just begun.
After his death in 1913, his parents were given his Bible. Inside were stenciled the words “No Reserves,” followed by a date. He had chosen to renounce his wealth so that he could become a full-time missionary. Later he penciled in “No retreat” when he decided to continue his work despite knowing that he would never be allowed to work at his father’s company ever again. Shortly before his death, he added “No regrets.”
I want to live my life with no reserves, no retreats, and no regrets, for my dash to mean something.