In my Math classroom, I introduced my students to the idea “Begin with the end in mind,” from Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. We analyzed standardized test questions that will most likely be the same types of questions asked of the students at the end of the school year. I hoped they would appreciate the wisdom of beginning each week of class with a reminder of what comes at the end of our time together. I suggested to the students that they apply this same concept to both short-term goals and long-term goals in their lives, to increase their level of success at reaching those goals.
Yesterday, as I began thinking about my own goals for the coming year, I asked God to show me something that I could use, and that I could share. I wasn’t thinking about “Begin with the end in mind.” I honestly couldn’t think of a single thing to write. Then, while riding in the car to take off trash, I smiled at the timing of my ride as soon as I heard a familiar voice on the radio. It was 3:00 pm, and for anyone familiar with BBN, they know that’s the time for daily Bible reading with narrator Alexander Scourby. Since it was December 31, his text, of course, was the end of the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John.
I let the tears come as I heard John’s words describing the new Jerusalem: “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21: 22, 23)
That’s the end. It was a reminder to me of the ultimate end for those who will be received by the Father because they came through the Son. So today, as I tried to decide where to begin my Bible reading for this year, I thought, “What about starting with the end? What if I start by reading the book of Revelation?”
I turned to the passage that I heard on the radio yesterday. I confess that I haven’t read these verses in my Bible in some time, so I did not remember a certain note written in the margin. There it was, penciled in between two columns describing that beautiful new city: “Desiring heaven gives us power on earth.”
I don’t know who said it, and I don’t remember when I copied it. I do know it’s the answer to my request for something to use and for something to share. I confess to you, friend, that I feel so far from where I need to be. I want to be an effective witness for Christ, an effective wife and mother, an effective teacher and friend… but I felt so overwhelmed in 2018.
I told God often in 2018 that I want to be used of Him, but in reading that note in the margin today, I realize that what was lacking in 2018 was His power. So now, I have my direction for beginning this new year. I need to “begin with the end in mind,” that is, with my focus on heaven, on eternity, and most importantly, on the Lamb who is the Light. From there, His power will be supplied for whatever He wants me to do in 2019.
If you wish to join me in studying the book of Revelation this month, I would love to hear from you about what God is showing you through the last book of the Bible. Happy New Year to you all!
“Desiring heaven gives us power on Earth.”