December 30. 10am. Thirty eight hours from a new year.  2021 was a tough year for most of us. Most people will be glad to have it in the rear view mirror.  There is certainly a lot we can’t control as we enter 2022.  But, a new year offers new opportunities, and a chance to reboot the direction of our individual lives.
To aid in that restart, I would remind you what Solomon said in Ecclesiastes.  He used the book to highlight all the things he poured his life into, in his pursuit for meaning and contentment…. building projects, relationships with 1000 hot women (not exaggerating!), expanded his kingdom, brilliant businessman, scientist, and architect. The guy even wrote book and an exotic zoo.He would have been featured on every list of the “rich and famous” and “the most interesting man in the world”. But, he summarized his pursuit of contentedness at the beginning and end of his book, “Meaningless! Meaningless! Everything is meaningless” (1:1 and 12:8)
But, his postscript then says that there is one thing that is meaningful.  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” (12;13).  It is noteworthy that the word “duty” is not in the original. It actually says, “for this is the whole of man”.  This is our everything. Nothing else will satisfy. The engine of our lives is designed to run on the fuel of “fearing God and keeping His commandments”. Keeping God as the Center of our lives is the only place of contentment and meaning.
So, as we enter 2022, we have the opportunity to build into our lives FIRST what will help us keep God at the Center.
In his book Mere Christianity, CS Lewis has a section entitled, “Our First Job”.
…..”The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back: in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day.  Standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings coming in out of the wind……. This is the whole of Christianity. There is nothing else.  It is so easy to get muddled about that. It is easy to think that the Church has a lot of different objects – education, building, missions, holding services…. but the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became man for a purpose.  It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose.”