As we have entered this new year, a two-word directive keeps coming to my mind—Press on. As the pandemic continues its rampage—press on. As threatened violence and political unrest continues—press on. As the winter grows colder and we grow older—press on. The image of a hiker staying on a narrow path through forest, hills and valleys to reach the mountain’s summit stays before me. Paul’s words from Philippians 3:14 are in my heart: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Press on.
I went ahead and bought a planning calendar for 2021, even though last year’s calendar was mostly unused. I’m in the process of mapping out a church budget, sermons and Bible studies, and looking for ways to be more effective in our mission efforts in the coming weeks. I anticipate one day returning to in-person services. Will Easter or Mother’s Day be too soon? Until we see more clearly, press on. The response to our on-line services has been excellent. Can we plan to keep doing that as we one day add going back to church? Will people be able to step forward and safely serve? Meanwhile there are still a multitude of big and little details that need to be fixed or maintained around the building. Our Hispanic church family has stepped up in sacrificial ways to support these efforts. Press on.
Hebrews 12 speaks of running the race set before us. Press on toward the prize. In 2 Timothy, Paul calls to mind these trustworthy words from an early church hymn, or maybe a sermon:
- If we die with Him, we will also live with Him.
- If we endure hardship, we will reign with Him.
- If we deny Him, He will deny us.
- If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny who He is.
Everyone is watching how we conduct ourselves through these days. Will we try to cheat, or be half-hearted, or leave the race altogether? We must press on toward the mark of the high calling of God.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Press on. And let’s experience the love and power of God together while still apart.