After an overindulgent Christmas season, yesterday was my first day back in the gym in 2024. As I walked in, I noticed that the gym was busier than usual. Among the regulars were quite a number of new faces. It was obvious that many of them had made a new year’s resolution to get fit and healthier this year. The new folks seemed quite enthusiastic about their workouts than the regulars, who seemed to be exercising at their own pace.

As I pondered on this, I thought to myself, it’s good to see people taking a positive step to better themselves, but in the gym and in life, I have come to realise that it is not always about how well you start a thing, but it is also about the courage and the discipline to continue that makes a difference.

Thinking back to last year, this was a similar pattern, but by the end of the year only a few of the new enthusiastic gym goers became regulars, and the sad reality is that this will most likely be the case this year also. In my observation, I was reminded of a similar spiritual analogy.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus shared about the seeds that fell on various grounds, but it was only the seeds that fell on good soil that yielded fruits. In explaining what the parable meant, He said this about the seeds that fell on rocky and thorny ground. “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.” Matthew 13:20-22      

From this parable, we know that the whole point of the ‘farmer’ going out to sow seeds was because he wanted a harvest (fruits). Similarly, the reason why a lot of us set yearly goals is because we are intending to better ourselves or achieve something by the end of the year. Perhaps like me, you have set some goals to read a bit more this year, to go deeper in prayer and in the ministry entrusted to you. Perhaps you may be new to faith, or even starting a new job, or joining the gym. Whatever it may be, let us not only start with joy and enthusiasm, like the seeds that fell on rocky ground. Let us not be like the seeds that fell on thorny ground, with crowded priorities and little focus on the goal at hand. Let us be like the good soil that conceives a vision (the seed), waters and nurtures it, and works at it till it yields a harvest.

Let us have that focus to start well and finish well this year. Let us Arise and Shine (Isaiah 60:1-2) this year.

Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spiritEcclesiastes 7:8          

Be encouraged!

Blessings,

Chris Eke