The eve of a new decade is an exciting time. I have thought so ever since I was born on December 31, 1969! After all, we only get to roll over the tens digit so many times in our lives (a web site that claimed to be able to gauge my life expectancy indicated that I will see a new decade come 10 times in my life). Milestones like this turn our minds toward the future as we imagine what the adolescence of this century will hold for ourselves, our families, our community, and our world.
Obviously, we don’t really know the answer to that question, and folks who tell you otherwise aren’t being honest. For example, Daniel Fagre, a U. S. Geological Survey ecologist working at Montana’s Glacier National Park eerily warns that Global Warming will entirely do away with the park’s glaciers by 2020. The BBC, on the other hand, reports that global temperatures have actually decreased over the past 11 years and that we are in for a decade of global cooling. Which will it be? Seeing how well the world’s scientists are able to predict the weather two weeks from Thursday, I’m prepared to believe that neither group has a clue. What’s more, I don’t believe that we really have much control over what the weather will be like in 2020.
Will I be alive in 2020? Will the economy be strong and provide ample resources for my family in the next decade? Will the Swine Flu or some other disease cause a pandemic? Will the Cowboys win any of the next 10 Super Bowls? All of these things are mostly beyond your control (unless somebody is forwarding our little newsletter to Jerry Jones).
But here’s something that does lie within your influence: You can grow spiritually in the 2010s. You can have an entire decade of your life in which you read your Bible (several times through!) and pray every day. You can mentor a younger Christian for this decade. God can help you to find victory over that pesky temptation that has been a chronic weakness for you.
You can start to tithe in this decade. If you are in debt on the way into this decade, you can be out of debt before it ends. Our nation can embrace the fiscal responsibility of earlier generations and exit the 2010s no longer terrified of what the Chinese might do with all of our nation’s debt that they hold.
You can participate in an international mission trip in the coming decade. You can present the gospel to every person in your neighborhood, or to every person in your family. You can adopt an orphan, volunteer in the CASA program, or assist a troubled child.
Together, we Southern Baptists can plant enough new churches to change the spiritual climate of our nation in the upcoming decade. We can start to take back our cities. We can put a missionary in every people group on the planet. Yes, there is so much that we cannot control, but in every important way, the decade of 2010 will be what we make of it. On your mark. Get set!