By Waylon Bailey
I have been blessed to study and preach from the Birth Narrative of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew’s Gospel gives the events of the birth of Jesus from the point of view of Joseph while Luke gives us the point of view of Mary.
What we see in Matthew’s Gospel is an emphasis on divine providence and human faithfulness. Matthew shows that Joseph was a man of character who could be counted on in the worst of times.
When God called Joseph he called him to stand up to one of the cruelest tyrants in the history of the world. Joseph was found faithful as he listened to God and cared for “the child and his mother” (Matthew 2:19-23).
Joseph gives us a great example of both finishing strong and beginning well. Matthew 2:19-23 gives us the end of the birth narrative and the beginning of training “up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6). These verses point to an ending and a beginning.
We all have the responsibility to finish strong and begin well. Life is filled with endings and beginnings. Today is one of those times. Even if we didn’t finish this year strong, we can certainly begin well.
Sometimes we think of giving the next year to God of giving Him the rest of our lives. While we all understand that desire, it really can’t be done. All we can do is give God today, but giving God today will make all the difference.
I want to encourage you to do three things today.
First, resolve to finish strong. Whether in school, at work, in marriage, or in life, we need to move toward the finish line to finish strong. Finishing strong should be one of our life goals.
Second, begin well. Today will give us a new beginning and a new opportunity. Begin this time well by giving it to God and seeking His guidance and direction.
Third, give God this day. I only have today. I can’t go back to yesterday, and I can’t hurry up to tomorrow. I can give God my best today.
Why not pause now to yield yourself to God for this day? Ask Him to lead you as you seek Him with all your heart.
This is one truth you can rely on: what you do today will affect the rest of your life.
Finish strong, begin well, and give yourself to God for this day.
Waylon Bailey is pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, and a former Louisiana Baptist Convention president. This editorial first appeared on his blog.