Fairly Spiritual: Last chance to redeem ’08

You have five days to finish your 2008 to-do list.

In retrospect, your goals might have been a bit ambitious. However, there is really no time to second guess such things, you’ve less than a week to check off your remaining resolutions.

Sure, some might doubt your resolve, but I believe in you. Until the countdown reaches zero and the Space Needle starts showering celebratory fireworks, you’ve got plenty of time to make good on your 2008 promises.

With the time crunch, a strategy is in order. Try killing two resolutions with one stone. When the year started, you vowed to exercise more and learn a foreign language. Why not take a Spanish aerobics class? You’ll strengthen your heart, and if you ever travel to Mexico you’ll be able to politely ask someone to give you four more lunges. Be creative, now is not the time for legalistic compliance, you really just need to follow the spirit of your resolutions.

Try lumping several goals into one symbolic act. Reduce your carbon footprint, spend time with your family, learn a new hobby and eat healthier by family snowshoeing to a local organic food store. Clean the garage while calling your mother while not smoking. Attend church, balance your checkbook and swear less at the same time. The options are almost endless.

I’m even using this column to complete a couple of my own goals. (Mark, can I have a raise? Mom and Dad, I want you to know I love you. Also, any man over 50 should have his prostate checked on a regular basis.) You see, I just completed three resolutions within those parentheses. Yes, one of my resolutions for 2008 was to increase awareness about prostate cancer … well, maybe not specifically prostrate cancer, but I did resolve to help people.

The point is, you can never give up until the fat lady sings. And I will not give up on using “the fat lady sings” even though it is a tired and overused expression.

There is always hope. Never give up. If the next five days really don’t matter, why not just start calling it 2009? I’ll tell you why not … because today is the day the Lord has made and we will rejoice and be glad in it. Not only will we rejoice, but we will try, and we will fail. God’s grace is uniquely suited for our failures. What is far worse than failing is simply giving up.

One of my favorite things about the word of God is when people failed in the Bible, they failed big time. The Bible has many stories about men and women of faith who seriously messed things up. In response to these mess ups, the scripture contains many corresponding examples of God’s grace.

When Jesus announced his ministry on Earth, he said these words. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Favor time

It’s important to remember that God’s rescue mission is a mission of favor. Each year we celebrate this thing we call Christmas. We speak of a baby savior and a holy night. Unfortunately, some of us never learn the meaning of it all. Christ came to bring the favor of God. Not to condemn, but to set us free.

With this in mind, let’s finish the year strong. Let’s check off something on that to-do list. However, even if we fail in our last-minute attempts to redeem the year, we must be mindful we have a gracious God who still loves us unfailingly.

Doug Bursch hosts “The Fairly Spiritual Show” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on KGNW 820 AM. He also pastors Evergreen Foursquare Church. Evergreen meets Sundays at 10 a.m. at the Riverside High School Theater. He can be reached at www.fairlyspiritual.org or doug@fairlyspiritual.org.