Michael J. Brooks - REFLECTIONS

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster, and adjunct instructor of speech at Jefferson State Community College, Hoover.

It was a moment of levity on an altogether sad day.

We buried a wonderful Christian man several months ago. His death was premature in our judgment and we were heartbroken to lose him. The family elected to return to our church for a meal after we left the cemetery, and the nice ladies in the church had everything ready for us.

While we were eating, the area directors for Weight Watchers came early to set up for their inaugural meeting that evening. We'd recently agreed to the organization's request to make our church their Shelby County site. We feasted in the fellowship hall (since eating is the only sin Baptists can enjoy!) and then walked past the two weigh-in stations in the hallway just outside.

I thought, you can't make this stuff up!

It reminded me of a study done by the University of Scranton that found weight loss the number one resolution Americans make each year, followed by exercise and smoking cessation.

The study determined that those who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to see positive change in their lives than those who don't. Even though we often joke about breaking resolutions, there is evidence they work. And now’s the time we traditionally think about resolutions.

Luke 2:52 covers 18 years in Jesus's life. The gospel writer says Jesus grew mentally, physically, socially and spiritually. These are good categories for modern believers to consider as we formulate resolutions.

For example, we can grow mentally by reading and taking classes. We can grow physically by beginning an exercise regimen or taking up a fun sport offering exercise as a fringe-benefit. We can grow socially by joining a civic club or a hobby group or by repairing broken relationships with others. And we can grow spiritually by making a new commitment to support our church, and a quest to discover and use our spiritual gifts in ministry (1 Corinthians 12:7).

Positive change is necessary in our lives because the Bible urges us to "redeem the time" (Ephesians 5:16). Death comes to us all and ends opportunities to invest in worthwhile things.

The Social Security Administration has an actuarial table on its website. The user puts in their age and the table shows a projected age of death. I put in my age and found my statistical life expectancy is 17.12 years. Of course, this is only a guess. My dad lived to be 92 after a 30-year retirement.

The point is we're all terminal. Death is coming whether welcomed or not, and we must use the time God gives us to honor him and serve others.

With this in mind, what are your resolutions for 2018?

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church's website issiluriabaptist.com.

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