2 Cor 8:10 "And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago."
I will suggest it here, but will honestly say that I would not be anxious to do it myself. Here at the beginning of 2012 to sit down and make some sort of list that would describe myself as to who I was, what I was doing and what were my goals a year ago? This past year has personally been one of the hardest years of my life, but I have grown to trust my Lord more than ever, I have grown to appreciate the frailty of earthly friendships. I have become aware that stuff is just stuff. I have learned that status quo is not status quo!
In the verse above, Paul, the Apostle is admonishing the Church of Corinth to basically do more this year than they did last year. This passage, actually these chapters, are a great basis for teaching "Faith Promise Giving." A good study of this area of scripture will prove that God cannot be out given; whatever you give to God will be returned, pressed down and running over. I can personally vouch for this in several ways and not just in money.
Doing better this year than last year. This is our thought in this article. It probably is not easy to come up with many tangible things that could be listed. We might have moved into a better house or neighborhood, we might be driving a better car, we might be receiving more salary, we may have found new friends since last year. Paul was referring to trusting God and I do not believe he was measuring that trust in dollars and cents. That one Church was responsible for helping other churches get started and was responsible to do its part to aid Christians in jeopardy of life. The call to do better, was not a call of desperation. It was a call to do better. I just watched a video of a small school in Alaska and its fifth grade. A tiny class of kids had produced an outstanding presentation of Handel's Messiah. They had done "better."
I will have succeeded, in this article, if I can encourage you to think what you did last year that could be improved this year. Be forward a year ago, is what Paul said. No matter what area it is, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter what it costs, can you be forward a year ago? I need to remind you right here that anything you propose or plan should be to the glory of God and with His Will and Permission otherwise, it will be in vain.
By now you probably have caught on to what is going on here. You see that I am approaching the "leaf turning resolution" ordeal from just a little different perspective. Please don't ignore the plea!!! After all the scripture verse above cannot be ignored.
I recently challenged someone who was convinced that they were too financially bound to tithe 10%. Don't choke on this, but I suggested a start of 1% with the intent to increase it by faith as God provides. I believe God will bless any effort to be forward a year ago. So let that be the motto for your quest, "Be Forward A Year Ago."
How about faithfulness to your Church. If you regularly miss, then you cannot be depended upon to teach a class or any other weekly duty. Are there prospects to be found or followed. Who does the janitor work? Who tidies up the Sunday School rooms?
Who supports the bus or van ministry? Calls to be made. Detail the van or bus occasionally. Who takes care of the Church flower gardening? Who organizes and designs the Church's float in the town parades; a great witness to a community? Who is the necessary prayer base for the pastor and his preaching? Lot's of people pat him on the back and a few will criticize, but his most needed help is from the Lord, strengthened by the prayer and support of Godly members. ~sm