It is indeed a great privilege to see a new year (2016). So many persons could not make it to the New Year though they would have loved to do so. Those of us who are permitted, by some divine providence, to still be here on earth should be asking ourselves these soul searching questions:
“Why am I still here when I could have died last year? For what purpose am I left on earth? How may I spend my remaining days wisely? How can I improve myself and others this year and the years to come?” The beginning of a new year is an opportunity to reflect deeply and begin on the right footing.
Therefore I am introducing a series that is intended to help my readers and myself to make the right start or restart early on in the year. The series focuses on the general need to make life better for self and others. It will consider topics like the meaning and purpose of life and how to take advantage of the opportunities and challenges that come one’s way to improve self and others.
The series will proceed as follows. This introductory article will define the key terms and concepts of the series and provide a background and thereby put it in context. The second article will delve into the question of the meaning and purpose of life. The focus of the third article will be on the power of determination. In the fourth article the focus will zero in on the opportunities available to each human person in one form or the other.
The fifth article will consider how one may convert challenges, problems or liabilities to assets. The thrust of the sixth article will be on how to deal with detractors and obstacles that challenge good intentions and efforts. And, the seventh and concluding article will center on how to share some of what one gains from tenacity and hard work.
Now we turn our attention to definitions. To resolve is to make a conscious decision and to stick to it; to be firm in solving a problem or in achieving a goal. To work in our context means to go beyond talking and planning to concrete actions to achieve a goal. It is to pay the price for a positive result. To make better is to improve, make progress, and to move to the next level in life.
This series is offered against the background that life as a whole is a precious gift from the Creator and as such is an opportunity that can be turned into success or that can be wasted. The ELBS former boss, Ambrose Mah, once said (perhaps quoting from someone else) ‘You are the architect of your own life”. That means among other things that each person is responsible for success or failure in life. In large measure each person determines the overall outcome of his or her life.
From a Christian perspective life is a priceless gift from God who is the ultimate architect of all of life but who requires human cooperation to fulfill the purpose for each life. God has created humans with freewill and will not force anyone to be what she/he does not want to. We need God and God requires our cooperation to make success out of us. St. Augustine of Hippo put it like this: “Without God we cannot and without us God will not.” In other words, we cannot do without God. We need God’s grace, natural resources (air, vegetation, sunshine, rain etc), protection, guidance and power to achieve so many things. But God requires our cooperation to achieve his purposes for us and the world. So many good things cannot be done unless people avail themselves and take advantage of the opportunities around them by turning them into assets that can benefit self and others.
It is therefore incumbent upon every person to seek ways to make something good out of one’s life of whatever kind. The Bible through the Apostle Paul encourages believers to make the most of the opportunity (Ephesians 5:16). This is how he puts it: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
So then, the series is meant to assist everyone to trust God, plan and work hard to achieve many positive things in life for the glory of God and the good of self, family, community and the wider world. Let us stop missing opportunities and make something of ourselves and contribute to the betterment of life. Subsequent articles will endeavor to show how.