George H. W. Bush infamously declared, “Read my lips, no new taxes.” Less than two years later, the former president signed into law some new taxes for the American people. Many analysts believe that Bush 41 set the course for his defeat in 1992 by that breach of promise. I am not politically astute enough to debate the issue of whether that course change was an election determinant. However, I do have an aversion for saying “read my lips,” because it brings to mind that historic reversal of stance.
So, “Read my words, I will not make any more New Year’s resolutions.” I am finished with the effort because I find myself feeling more guilty than healthy about such attempts at making something new in the way of resolutions for another year.
Don’t get me wrong. For some individuals, perhaps most of them, the practice is far more positive than negative. For me, the experience has not been a productive one for the most part. Therefore, I will change the direction, or at least the verbiage, this year and use another word in the new year. In 2009, I plan to make three general but substantive commitments.
First, I commit myself to being faithful. I will do my utmost to be faithful to the Lord, His Word and His work. Additionally, I commit myself to being faithful to my wife and family. These are to be daily commitments and a daily prayer. I will ask the Lord for the strength to be faithful, knowing that I do not possess the power within myself to do this on my own.
Second, I commit myself to being focused. Admittedly, I am somewhat ADD. I have always had to concentrate on doing what is most important and the highest priority versus what is expedient or just a good thing to do. I have improved some in this essential quest, but I have much more room for growth in effectiveness in terms on focusing on the main thing. The word focus has been a useful term for me. In fact, I may overuse it but I like that word. Ford even took the word and made a car out of it.
Third, I commit myself to being more frugal. Good stewardship of personal resources has been a personal pursuit of mine all my life, but now it is even more important to me. I am only one generation removed from the so called Great Depression. My father use to say, “The worst thing about the Great Depression was that it was so depressing.” I guess that is one reason why the period is called The Great Depression.
In these days of economic challenge, which might be called “The Great Recession”, we all need to be even more committed to being good stewards of our treasure as well as our time, talent and testimony. This is the time for us to really incarnate Matthew 6:33 (HCSB), “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”
Commitments not resolutions represent my new approach to the new year. The word resolution has become so diluted that it has been robbed of meaning. Commitment has a stronger ring to it. It represents the resolve which has been lost in many of my attempts at New Year’s resolutions. Why do I share these commitments with you? For accountability purposes, I need you to ask me, “How is your commitment-keeping going in 2009?” By the way, I like the term commitment-keepers better than the term Promise-keepers, but that thought is for another day and a different blog.