Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Clean Slate

Each of us Adkins siblings came at five year intervals, so my youngest brother, Carl, is ten years my junior. Carl was a delightful kid who was a joy to be around, but being the baby of the family didn't keep him from asserting himself. After all, with two older brothers like me and Bruce, he learned early that he would need to assert himself if he were going to survive. He developed a strong personality early in life, which I am sure has served him well during his adult years - supervising a large staff and dealing with one crisis after another as the General Manager of a large stadium.

As a little guy, Carl would wait at the front door for us to arrive home from school. I especially remember one particular such day during my 6th grade school year, when we had a large snowfall. There must have been six inches or so of the white stuff covering the ground. Carl was just over two years old at the time, and he was enthralled by the beautiful coating of snow. He had joyfully peered out the window for hours admiring the fresh blanket of snow and looking for us to return so he, too, could come outside to play.

We walked home from school in those days. (you know the story, barefoot, two miles per day, uphill in both directions, etc) Anyhow, there were a large number of Gallaher Elementary students who walked up our street to their homes each day. As we approached our house, I saw Carl standing in the open front door - fury etched on his little face. It seemed that some of the school kids were not only walking on the slushy sidewalks, but also dragging their feet through some of the front yards - including ours. Carl was outraged. As some of the students veered from the pavement into our snow covered yard, Carl would scream, "Get out of my snow!!!"

Carl loved that pristine beauty of the unmolested snow blanket. Soon he would happily make his own footprints in the snow. He would soon join his older brothers in creating a snow man, making snow angels, and riding our new sleds down one of the neighborhood slopes. But until then, it was HIS snow. He wanted to be the one to blaze the trail. He wanted none other than a fresh, clean canvas on which to work his own art.

In a sense, each of us are facing a similar situation as 2009 arrives. A fresh, clean slate lies before us. Sure, there will be the usual list of suspects who will tramp through our yards this year. We do not yet know who the characters will be , nor how they may mar our beautiful snow fall, but we're sure to have plenty of them. The most important thing is, that it is up to each of us, as to what type of footprints WE will leave.

How have your steps counted in 2008? Have you messed them up in any way? Every 365 days, God gives us a mulligan - a do over - a clean slate on which to work. As we face the new year with all it's uncertainty, those of us who follow Christ will never need to fear where our steps will fall. That is as long as we follow His lead. He knows what's coming. He knows the way. Our job is to follow. If we do just that, our steps will matter. Our footprints will always be right. The yard before us is beautiful, pure and waiting. How we walk in it is up to us.

On this first day of the new year, I want to share with you the words of a beautiful song written by Bill and Gloria Gaither in 1974. The song is entitled, "That's Worth Everything".

"Some men will trade the wealth of home and friends for just a taste of
Some men will risk their reputations, than men may know their name;
But just to know that all is clear between my soul and God's dear Son,
And hear Him say 'Well done', well, that's worth everything!

To know when tiny feet walk in the path that I have left behind,
That they will make their way to Jesus, contentment there to find;
And just to know down deep within my heart that I have wronged no man,
And fit my Master's plan, well, that's worth everything!"

Linda joins me in wishing you a happy, healthy, and fruitful New Year in 2009. May God bless you, richly, and use you in His perfect plan.

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