Optimism for 2013

Read: Luke 5:17-26

I used to love listening to motivational speaker and fellow Christian Zig Zigler speak. He passed away this past November at the age of 86. What a great example of optimism and a positive attitude he conveyed to us all. One time he said that he was such an optimist that he would go after Moby Dick in a rowboat and take the tarter sauce with him.

That’s the kind of optimism that we need to enter this New Year with. It’s much too easy to watch the news (which mostly focuses on the negative) and get down about where things are headed in our world. Instead, we need to understand the challenges ahead but approach them with optimism and faith that God is still in the business of the positive.

It reminds us of the passage in Luke 5 where the paralyzed man’s friends wanted to get their friend to Jesus to be healed. The crowd was huge and it seemed impossible to reach him, but they had faith that if they did all they could do Jesus would see their need and heal their friend.

They climbed the thatch or tile roof, made a hole, and lowered the man down on a mat right in front of Jesus. Jesus not only healed the man so that he could get up and walk, he also forgave him of his sins. They could have stayed home and said the crowds were too big to reach Jesus, but no, they had faith and that faith was not going to let them be stopped.

I truly believe that Zig Zigler’s optimism was born out of his faith in Jesus Christ. He spoke of it often and his faith is what allowed him to approach life and everything else in the world with such a great attitude.

As we begin 2013, I hope that we can have the faith of the friends in Luke 5 and the optimism of Mr. Zigler for the New Year ahead. God has done great things in our world, and will continue to do great things through His Son Jesus Christ even if CNN, Fox News, and all of the others choose not to report about it.

Let us face the year ahead with anticipation of the good that Christ is going to do in our midst. And when it’s over we can respond like the crowd did in Luke 5. Verse 26 says, “Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, “We have seen remarkable things today (this year).”

Make it personal: Try to focus on the positive this year. If terrible news on T.V. is bringing you down then turn it off and turn on something that will lift your spirit. Try to focus on the good and ask the Lord to redeem the bad. Make it a great year!

Happy New Year Everyone,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling and Community Life, Arthur Mennonite Church