I don’t know about you, but I am not big on making new year resolutions. The prime reason for this is that I start with wonderful aspirations about what I will do in the new year to potentially change for the better and invariably feel very deflated when I fail to fulfil the commitments and promises made.
An example of this was years ago after returning from a year of leave which entailed extensive overseas travel, I vowed as part of a new year’s resolution to go on regular weekend camping trips with my wife throughout the coming year to maintain our connection to a more intentionally relaxed lifestyle. Needless to say, only one weekend camping trip eventuated for the entire year.
As a new school year commences, with all the anticipation of building new and rekindling existing relationships with colleagues, students and parents, there is much to look forward. Each of us have been gifted in unique and different ways and as part of our vocation as staff within learning communities we are called to use these gifts in service to our Lord.
In Romans 12: 6-8 St Paul provides us with encouragement to use our gifts.
‘In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.’
We should never look with envy at the gifts others have or how God uses them to fulfil his purposes. We can admire them, learn from them, and be inspired by them, but we should not let even the faintest hint of comparison be made. We are called to be the best version of us that we can be. God doesn’t ask us to only use other’s gifts. He wants us to fully use our own gifts. It is always possible that our gifts will give us a great reputation and potentially bring many blessings to our lives. But we should not let that be the motivation for using our gifts. Our gifts are to glorify God and make his name known to others.
As we have the opportunity for a new start, setting new goals, having new aspirations, may we each give thanks to God for the gifts he has given us and for the privilege to use these in service to him.
Maybe this can be my New Year resolution?