Think of your life as just begun.
The past has shrivelled and buried deep
So let them sleep.
Nor seek to summon back
one ghost of that innumerable host.
Concern yourself with but today,
and teach it to obey.
Since time began,
Today has been the friend of man;
But in his blindness and his sorrow
He looks to yesterday and tomorrow.
You and today!
A soul sublime
and the great pregnant hour
With God Himself to bind the twain,
Go Forth, I say!
-from British Weekly,
Everyone should be familiar with the passage in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress in which Bunyan saw Christian in a time of indecision. Christian looked "as if he would run, yet he stood still, because, as I perceived, he could not tell which way to go." Then Bunyan, in his dream, saw Evangelist come up to Christian, and here is the immortal passage:
"Then," said Evangelist, pointing with his finger over a very wide Field, "Do you see yonder Wicket-gate?" The man said, "No..." "Do you see yonder shining light?" Evangelist asked. He said, "I think I do." "Then," said Evangelist, "keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the Gate; at which when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do."
This is the message for a New Year.
We may not see the goal, but we need have no doubt as to the direction in which we should be traveling.
The Gate, Christian could not see; the light, he could see. If he went towards the light, he would surely find the gate. He knew the direction, and for the time being, that was enough.
There are certain directions in which we should be traveling all through this year.
They are: Forward, Outward, and Upward.
We should be traveling forward.
When David Livingstone volunteered for missionary service, he was asked where he was willing to go. He said, "I will go anywhere, so long as it is forward."
The daunting thing about life is that so often the end of one year finds us no farther on than the end of the year before. We have still the same faults; we are still making the same mistakes; we are still falling to the same temptations.
Let us resolve now to go forward.
We should be traveling outward.
If we look out instead of in, if we think of others instead of self, if concerned care for others takes the place of selfishness, then obviously life will be more useful, and certainly life will be happier.
It was once said that in certain places in Africa, when a native gets a very heavy burden to carry, he puts it at one end of a pole. He then gets a stone of equal weight to the burden and attaches it on the other end of the pole. He then puts the pole with burden and stone across his shoulders and goes off. The stone balances the burden, and that is the easiest way to carry it.
Often the easiest way to carry our own troubles is to carry someone else's as well. To take thought for the troubles of others is the surest way to forget our own.
We should be traveling upward.
In a sense we cannot help doing that, for every day brings us nearer the end of this life and nearer the entry to the next life. We would see things very much more clearly and in their true proportions if we lived with that perspective. We would see the difference between the things which are important and the things which do not matter, if we looked at them in the light of eternity.
See yonder light?
-from Daily Celebration, by William Barclay