Live Richly

On the first day of a new year, on the cusp of the future, it is fitting to ask: What do you remember? What have been the richest times of your years so far, the good memories that easily come to mind?

We all want to live richly, to live life the right way. We know that this material life is short, and somehow represents an opportunity that we don’t want to squander.

I remember vacations. As I ask myself what is best out of my memories of life so far, vacations with my wife and kids are among the first things that come to mind. It’s not the places we’ve been, because some of the best memories occurred in years when we didn’t leave our home state. Instead, vacations are rich because they are the special times when my family and I have fled every other obligation for the sake of spending time together.

I also remember the gospels. In late 2006 and early 2007, I was brand new to Christian faith, and I wanted to understand everything I could about who Jesus was and what he said and did. I cleared time in the mornings for slowly reading the gospels, pausing to pray and reflect over every detail I didn’t understand (which was quite a lot). The entire study took months, some of the richest months I’ve known.

Every good thing comes from the Father, says James 1:17. As you take note of the experiences of your life that have been good enough to leave lasting good memories, what you are recognizing are the times when God was touching you, richly blessing you, drawing very close.

Seeing this casts a different light on the concept of new year’s resolutions. How do I really live a good life, and spend my time well? The best moments of my life seem to have come not because I resolved for something good to occur, but because I cleared my schedule. To be sure, goals and disciplines are vital—make a worthy resolution this year, and work to keep it. However, there is something even greater than our goals and disciplines, something not to be overlooked. I find that my own richest moments occur not when I bear down, but when I open up.