A Baker’s Dozen for 2011

by Derrick G. Jeter

Well, it’s that time of year again when tradition trumps common sense and our will to live up to our own best hopes. It’s time for New Year’s resolutions. Of course, everyone who sits down to compose a list, whether short or long, has every intention of following through. Most will fail. But no matter, we are by nature optimistic. So we make our resolutions with the thought that this could be the year. With that thought in mind, but with a realistic view of my own foibles, I offer the following resolutions for 2011—a “Baker’s Dozen” if you like. And if I fail—and if you fail keeping yours—all I and you need do is remember #2.
  1. Faith: exercise a radical trust in the sovereignty and goodness of God, who will not allow me to fall from His hand.
  2. Grace: never forget that my best, apart from God, is only equal to the most precious gifts of hell.
  3. Hope: like a nail, remain firmly driven in the plank of God’s promises.
  4. Love: develop deeper and wider-ranging roots of intimacy with God, which is the only source of love-sustaining affection for others.
  5. Passion: pursue God, loved ones, and life as if today were my last—as if today I leave my beloveds and see my Beloved.
  6. Compassion: search every nook of my heart to find a measure of charity for the physically downtrodden and spiritually homeless.
  7. Perspective: sharpen the vision between the eternal and the temporal, treating the temporal as temporal and the eternal as eternal by esteeming the invisible over the visible.
  8. Contrition: finely attune my heart to God’s heart, so that what breaks God’s heart breaks my heart.
  9. Forgiveness: remember that Christ didn’t die in vain, but to redeem my sin sickened soul; so don’t cheapen His death and resurrection through stubborn unforgiveness—for self or others.
  10. Generosity: live with open hands, mindful that each and every dollar and possession is a gift from God for stewardship.
  11. Truth: seek it, accept it, inculcate it—it is the only thing that brings freedom and security.
  12. Beauty: don’t curse the darkness produced by an ugly culture, enlighten the darkness by producing culturally beauty things—to do so is to reveal the Beautiful One.
  13. Wonder: maintain a supple heart to the things that are tender to God’s heart; cynicism is the curse of a harden heart—fight it for all you’re worth!