Build This New Year with God
A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson
“But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.”– Numbers 32:23 (ESV)
The Bible verse above is a small portion of a larger dialogue about destiny and duty.
The Chapter 32 of the book of Numbers tells the story of the nomadic preparation that the Hebrews took so they could cross over into Canaan, their Promised Land.
While conferring with his tribal leaders, Moses is engaged by two of his generals from the tribes of Gad and Reuben. They and their families raised cattle. They felt that the land East of Canaan was more suited for their lifestyle than the land West of the Jordan River.
Moses refused to consider their appeal. He thought that they were resisting God’s providence. He feared that their desire might bring divine retribution upon the wandering tribes, again. But they persisted. Gad and Reuben had a vision, a purpose, a plan and an overarching goal. They would do their part to ensure the safe settlement of the Promised Land, then, with God’s blessings, they would go back to their families and the land that they had chosen.
To this Moses consented. The conquest of this territory would require focus, time and perseverance. They would return to their havens of choice, only after conquering the larger context. They had to finish what should have been done 40 years before.
William Lloyd Alan, a biblical expositor, said that “Mission is bound up in God’s reciprocity.” Similarly, Albert Pike said, “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others remains and is immortal.”
Like the leaders of the tribes of Gad and Reuben, we stand just inside of a new frontier. The New Year 2022 is a promised land. We have 358 days left to persevere and pursue our visions. This year is awaiting our encroachment, settlement and cultivation.
Do you have a compelling vision, purpose, plan, and goal for 2022 and beyond? Cross your Jordan River. Do the work, well! Help someone else pursue their goal while not forgetting your own. Launch your arrows of initiative. If you miss your target, at least you tried. Missing the target should make you try harder to do differently and better in your next attempt.
I read a story about an aging carpenter who was ready to retire. He informed his employer of his plans to hang up his hammer. The employer asked a huge favor. “Build just one more house before you retire.” The carpenter agreed but his heart was not in it. He cut corners and used inferior materials that he never would have considered previously.
Upon completion and the final inspection of the home, the boss gave the keys to the carpenter saying “This house is my gift to you for all of your years of dutiful work and quality construction.”
It became evident, at least to himself, that he would now live in a home that he had not built well. His sins of omission, cutting corners, taking shortcuts, crossing boundaries or lapses of integrity would live as monuments in his home.
That is what Numbers 32:23 means. It means that our diligence or slackness in the development of our characters, reputations and relationships will become evident at home, at work and in the community. What kind of life are you building? Are you using premium or inferior materials? Are you finishing the tasks?
Last year we did some remodeling in our home. I wanted French doors as the entry way to one of the rooms. I ordered them, but we hung other doors until the doors that I ordered arrived. When they arrived, I was busy so I put them in the garage. Now, almost a year later, every time that I or my wife park our cars in the garage, my coveted and acquired French doors stand unfinished in the garage. My vision remains unfinished because I have not done the work to finish and hang them. My unfinished business indicts me. That is what our text means.
If you are not happy in your life right now, it is probably because unfinished business or silent whispers are indicting you. You can’t change what you did that got you here, but you can change what you do going forward.
Build your engagement of living this year wisely with the best habits, choices, and investments of time. Remember that your life today is the result of your decisions and actions in bygone days. Your future will be the fruit of what you choose now. Get started and finish what you start!
Let’s Pray: Dear God, bless these readers as they conquer each day of this New Year 2022. Give them visions, goals, purpose, energetic hope and follow through. Forgive their sins and shortcomings. Renew their spirits and make them confident and successful overcomers! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.
Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps.
Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.
He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.
Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.
You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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