Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 24, 1953

Let Us Begin The Year

Jesse M. Kelley, Port Arthur, Texas

On the first day of the first month shalt set up the tabernacle." (Exodus 40:2)

In the above passage the first day of the first month of the year was chosen by God for the erection of the tabernacle. We may ask, "Why did God choose this particular time for the erection of the place of worship by the Israelites? The Bible does not say. Of course God had reasons; He always has reasons for His conduct, but He does not always "give account of any of his matters." (Job 33:13) All places and all times are alike to God; yet He chose the first day of the first month for the erection of the tabernacle. The first day of the year was no more to God than any other, but it would render the service more memorable and impressive to the people. It was for the benefit of Israel that he said "On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle." Then too, it is well to begin a new year with some good work, and to commence serving God with a renewed vigor and determination. There is something about the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new that causes man to want to do better. Many make resolutions for the New Year; and though many are broken some are kept, and serve to make better, more serious men and women. Therefore, let us suggest some resolutions that it would be well for you to consider.

First, let us begin the year with solemn reflection, and say with Job, "When a few years are come, I shall go the way whence I shall not return." (Job 16:22) Let me not only believe this, but think of it, and feel the importance of the sentiment. Yes, in a little time I shall be no more seen. How, where shall I then be disposed of? The seasons will return as before; but the places that now know me will know me no more forever; even my name will be forgotten. Will this be a curse or a blessing? If I die in my sins, surely it will be a curse. No more will I have the opportunities to hear the Lord and to heed His call; opportunities which I have so many times let go unheeded. But if I die in the Lord this year I will have gained; no greater blessing could be mine. Therefore, let me think seriously concerning my present state and resolve to serve God during this year more than ever in the past.

Let us begin the year with self-inspection, and say, with the chief butler, "I do remember my faults this day." (Gen. 41:9) We are prone to think of the failings of our brethren, and often imagine because we are free from their faults we are faultless. But we may have other faults, we may have worse; and while a mote is in our brother's eye, a beam may be in our own. Let us be open to conviction, not bound down by prejudice. Let us deal faithfully with our own hearts. Let us not compare ourselves with other, and especially the more vile of our fellow-creatures, but with our advantages; with our knowledge; with our profession; with the law of God.

Let us begin the year with a determination to abandon whatever appears sinful, and say, with Elihu, "If I have done iniquity, I will do no more." (Job 34:32) If the desire to follow Satan should solicit let it do so in vain while I remember the admonition of the Lord as he says, "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." (Matt. 5:29, 30)

Begin the year by taking Christianity and worship into your home. If the law of Christ and the worship of God have never been established in your family, the "first day of the first month" is a good time to begin. Let me say with Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15) A house without prayer is like a house without a roof, or a fort without guns; it is defenseless and uncovered; exposed to Satan and all his devices.

Let us begin the year with fresh concern to be useful to the Lord and His church, and ask with Saul of Tarsus, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6) Let me look at my condition, my resources, my opportunities and the disposition I make of my time. Let me ask, "How can I glorify God and promote the welfare of His church? Is there not a lesson to teach to a sinner? Are there not missionaries to support? Are there none perishing for a lack of knowledge that I can myself instruct? Have I no erring brother to reclaim, no irreligious neighbors to influence? Are there no poor to relieve? No widows and fatherless to visit? Can one actually begin this new year by saying " am not capable of doing anything, there is nothing in the church for me to do"?

Last, let us begin the year by taking a firmer and more determined stand for God's truth; teaching, reproving, rebuking, exhorting with the love of God in the heart, and a deep and sincere concern for the souls of our brethren in the Lord. Let all that I do be done in love, whether it be rebuking my brother for his sin if such there be, or exhorting him to a more consecrated service in the cause of the Lord.

And if these be your resolutions, and you hold to them, the coming year will be the time of your greatest happiness. God himself says, "From this day will I bless you.