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  • A Musing Pastor

It's Never Too Late

When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. (John 21:15-17, NIV)

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How are you doing? ........... ...... ......

No, seriously, how are you doing?

2021 has been a continuation of 2020 which frankly was abysmal and so the question is valid. Have you experienced any victories in your life during the downfall of normalcy? If not, take heart. It's never too late to begin again.

The ebb and flow of life can be predictive sometimes and then again it can knock us senseless with no warning. January 1, 2021 was the day I set a goal to run a minimum of 500 miles for the year. It seemed like a good round number and one I thought attainable. Over my lifetime, I have discovered the need to set goals and then purposely work toward the same. This goal of 500 miles fell in line with the mindset. If I could run 150 days and average 4 miles a run, then 500 miles would fall like a bumped domino!

What happens when a general expectation doesn't pan out? What kinds of internal arguments go on in the human brain? Or do any arguments occur at all? Is there disappointment, defeat, desperate resignation or is there resolve to not be defeated? I experienced some of these to differing degrees throughout November of this year.

About mid-September, a review of my goal revealed a huge shortfall of mileage and the 500 mile goal was certainly not attainable. A litany of events and situations had prevented me from maintaining a steady pace toward the overall goal. I was looking at 201 miles and an expectation was lying a bit tattered on the floor. I suppose I could make excuses for some failures and could have thrown in the towel (Funny that the expression is usually attributed to a boxing match when the boxer is being pummeled and the manager "throws in the towel" to save the boxer from certain injury).

It's never too late to review, evaluate, reset a goal, and move forward; and that is what I did. With 8 weeks of the year ahead of me, it was time to set the new goal of 250 miles and get busy. Today, Christmas Day, I am now a little over 4 miles from the new goal and believe it will be achieved.

When things don't go as planned, several options arise. We can:

1. quit.

2. posture and blame something or someone.

3. realize that failure isn't the end of the story but a new beginning.

4. begin again.

How do you approach your goals? You have goals, right? When your goals aren't realized, is your first impulse to quit? Hope not. It's never too late to begin again.

The scripture from John 21 retells the story of Simon Peter's failures (They were many.) and the restoration of this failed man at the hands of the one who reclaims broken expectations. Granted, the restoration may seem painful and unwelcome. There may be challenges that seem too much to handle and questions that seem too tough to digest.

Peter was asked not once, not twice, but three times whether he loved Jesus. He had denied Jesus three times and so its poetic that three questions of loyalty were extended to him. The gentle nature of Jesus to hold us accountable is not to be missed. Gentle and firm are qualities that hold us closely in line with some divine plan that is far broader than our own. Peter would soon realize the restoration of his heart and would move forward with renewed fervor (Read Acts 2). We can realize the same.

If it's not too late to begin again, then go ahead and place all your goals and broken expectations into the hands of Jesus and see if your life doesn't begin to change for the better. Are you trying to read more books? Is your goal to lose some weight, gain some muscle, or some other health initiative? Do you desire to be more faithful in mission work, tithing, or some other area of benevolence? Name a goal that will bring purpose to you and glory to the Lord and watch it begin to take shape. It doesn't hurt to occasionally stop and review your progress and recalibrate a little if necessary.

It's never too late to begin again.

"A Musing Pastor"

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