As I begin my last blog of 2014 I want to take a minute to thank those of you who have signed up to follow papaswords.com this year. It is humbling anytime anyone is interested enough in what a person has to say that they choose to follow your weekly posting. Your interest, your comments and your sharing on topics and the every day struggles of living the Christian faith are always welcomed.
Having been in business and retail in the past I’ve taken many physical inventories. While some businesses take quarterly inventories the big one is always the one taken at the end of the year. In business much can be learned from the inventory left at year’s end. It can tell you what items you sold or distributed the most. It can tell you how well you forecasted your annual needs. Inventory can identify current trends and it can help you better judge which items you will need to restock or liquidate for the upcoming year.
Each year at this time many of us do similar personal inventories. New Year’s Day is the day when resolutions are made usually for the betterment of our personal lives based on habits or trends of the previous year. There are the standard quit smoking, eat better or lose weight commitments and maybe the read the Bible and pray more resolutions. However you do it and whatever it looks like, this is the time of the year when most of us swear to make some kind of change in our personal lives. That is unless you have come to the stage where past failures in keeping these year end decisions deter you from taking such personal assessment tests ever again. Like you, each year I too consider what I did wrong the previous year and what I need to do to live better in the year ahead.
2014 was not a kind year for me. After much effort, sleepless nights and negative health effects, I lost my business. Some reports in the medical field read that losing a business is as traumatic for some as losing a close family member. The grieving process is much the same. As a result my personal year end inventory tells a story that isn’t necessarily a pretty one. I am left with many boxes of good inventory that should have been distributed and I have little left of bad inventory that should never have left the building. Here is what I’m talking about.
The Bible is clear about the inventory of good items that every Christian believer should posses and distribute. Galatians 5:22 says this;
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
“By our fruit they will know us”. I’m not sure if I displayed enough of this fruit or inventory in 2014 to convince some of my faith. I certainly didn’t display much peace as I struggled with the business. I can’t say I demonstrated much kindness or goodness to others as I was a bit too focused on my own issues at the time to consider others. While I tried to remain faithful through the process there were many days when I lost control. These items listed are inventory items that should be replenished at the end of each year because we distributed and shipped all the inventory we had to others throughout the year. Sadly I still have quite a bit of unused inventory still sitting there on the shelves at year’s end.
On the other end of the scale are those inventory items that each of us are born with because of our sinful nature that should be stored in a part of your warehouse for slow moving items. The Bible lists these as well. They are listed earlier in Galatians 5:19;
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I am convinced that God enabled me to be a business owner. I could not have accomplished purchasing a business on my own accord or with my limited resources. So naturally I had a difficult time understanding why through prayers and fasting and blessings God was taking the business away from me so soon. I depleted all my strife inventory. I certainly had my fits of rage and shook my holy fists at God more than once. Through selfish ambition I tried desperately to hold on to something that was being taken from me. And on more than one occasion my blood alcohol count might have exceeded the legal limit while wallowing in despair in the midnight hours of my home. As I count the various items that one should never be giving away I find that some of these boxes have been emptied and others are shamefully low. Many elements of my personal inventory are reversed. Like the Apostle Paul, those things I should have I am out of and those things I don’t need are in abundance.
What a blessing it is that with God you can start new inventory habits every single day. Thankfully His memory is shorter than ours is. We can start each year, each quarter, even each day with a clean slate and fresh start.
Lamentations 3:23 says Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
As you consider on this the last day of 2014 those things you want to achieve in 2015, your good inventory, and those things you wish to change, the bad inventory, prayerfully seek God in humility and ask Him to supply those items He deems necessary for the purpose He has for your life this year. Be prepared for trials-Christianity ain’t easy! But never forget that God forgets! Fresh everyday are the tools and the inventory He sets aside for you to accomplish his will in your life and to bring you through to complete peace and joy. It’s a long learning process, longer for some of us than others, but well worth the lessons. And don’t forget to inventory your blessings along the way!
I prayerfully wish all of you a blessed, a peaceful and God fulfilled Happy New Year!