The First Step
In just a few days the 2014 summer season (in North America) will be history. I trust that you’ve enjoyed the season. It’s my favorite time of the year.
During summer the pace of life slows down a bit. It’s a time for vacations and travel, picnics, cookouts, a time to reconnect with family and friends. The days are longer, so there’s more time to take a walk in the park, ride a bicycle, tend your garden, and enjoy an outdoor concert or fireworks display. Kids live for this time when they can put away their school books and head off to summer camp.
You can easily tell it’s summer at the Adventist world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, where I work. In July and August you’ll find a good parking space. As you enter the massive building, the structure seems larger than it is, because it’s nearly half empty. Our employees usually scatter across the globe on vacations, camp meetings, evangelistic meetings, mission trips, and study tours.
I can’t explain why, but I find that getting close to water is therapeutic. One of the most relaxing activities I’ve discovered is to sit by the city dock in Annapolis, Maryland, and watch the yachts, dinghies, catamarans, and cruisers come and go on Spa Creek. Some times I’ll sink my feet into the white sands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and let the cool, gentle waves curl around my toes.
Unfortunately, summer must come to an end, and though autumn hasn’t arrived yet, most people have already started gearing up for the fall. The back-to-school shopping is in full swing. Parents are outfitting their children with new clothes and school supplies. They’re checking course schedules and exam requirements to keep their children focused.
The annual end-of-summer migration has already started as thousands of college and university students have made that long trek to campus. Teachers have decorated their classrooms and sharpened their lesson plans while university faculty put the finishing touches on their syllabi.
Many church choirs have started rehearsing again after a long summer break. Several volunteer organizations, such as social clubs, auxiliaries, and ministries, come alive after taking the seasonal hiatus.
With the start of a new school year the rhythm of life changes for many families, including mine. As the daily cadence picks up, the days grow shorter, the leaves turn yellow, and we become more time-conscious.
For me, autumn has always been a time of new beginnings. As students enter into a new phase of their education, many of us adults take on challenges and set new goals. The fall season is a perfect time to enroll in a new degree program or get more continuing education credits. It’s a good time to join a club or start an exercise program.
While summer offers a season for thought and reflection, a time for reevaluation of ourselves, autumn is the natural time to implement changes and make midcourse corrections in our lives.
As we ponder the new challenges and opportunities that the fall provides, wouldn’t it be nice to ask ourselves, What new thing can I do for God? Within my sphere of influence, how can I make a difference for His kingdom? What more can I do to develop a closer walk with Jesus Christ?
You may simply remember and restart that forgotten New Year’s resolution you made to yourself. You might just tweak or reaffirm an activity that you’re already doing now. Or maybe it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and launch a bold new venture, such as a Bible study group or a mission trip.
If we simply make the effort to draw closer to God, He will open the floodgates of heaven and shower us with blessings and boundless joy. He longs to make our lives more meaningful as He fills us with His Spirit.
But we must take the first step. n