“…but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
One of the things I have enjoyed about returning to the Midwest is the opportunity to go deer hunting. This fall I had the chance to hunt with my father-in-law for several days in both November and December. Deer hunting involves a great deal of waiting and watching for deer that may never come within range, and unlike hunting shows on television, there is no way to edit your day to include only the exciting moments when you actually get to see and shoot at the elusive creatures. Unfortunately, my aim was a bit off, and I missed every deer I shot at this year. I must confess, that after multiple misses it became difficult to maintain my pride as a serious deer hunter, and I was forced to come to grips with my inability to bag the big one (or the little one, or any one in between). One thing I’ve learned about deer hunting is not to get too discouraged when you miss your chance, because there’s always another deer or another day. And if the season winds down and you haven’t filled your tag, there’s always next year.
The truth is, I tend to forget about the ones I’ve missed or the times I’ve been out the entire season and seen nothing to shoot at. Every year when deer season rolls around, I find myself excited about the opportunity to get into the woods in search of some venison for my family. In many ways, our Christian life ought to be the same way. Each new day presents us with another opportunity to humbly obey our Creator, to serve others in love, and to share the gospel with those who are lost. Each new year presents us with opportunities to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. You may have enjoyed stunning success this past year, or you may have faced frustration and defeat, but today is a new day, this is a new year, and each of us can “press toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” in 2013.