Gospel of John

Last Words for a New Year

Last Words for a New Year

Typically, at the start of a new year, we talk about new beginnings, new resolutions and new goals. But this week, i want us to look at some important “last words”. Last words are those definitive pronouncements that one makes as he/she is coming to the end of a journey. Most often, it is the journey of life, and death is approaching. But in other instances, it can occur at the end of one’s tenure of leadership or mission, just prior to one’s departure – or – when one is preparing to depart for an extended journey or mission of uncertain outcome. Most often, they are words to inspire us or encourage us, as we continue on in our respective journey. They can be words that summarize the truths they have learned, the experiences they have had, or the feelings they have. They can be words of wisdom, blessing, love or appreciation. Regrettably, they can sometimes be words that tear down or curse. But regardless of their intent, they are often the most remembered words that the person has ever spoken to us. 

 

i often think back to the last conversation that i had with my dad before he passed away – a very real conversation about life and death. He taught me – and modeled – many things over the years – but i am often reminded of his authenticity and transparency – and the moment we shared – in those last words. i am also mindful of the last words of challenge i received from one of my mentors, just prior to his retirement. Those words have often encouraged me to persevere in the midst of tough times….

An Abiding Truth

An Abiding Truth

Several years ago, a few friends and i were making a trek through a city in China. Some of our group were from the US, and some lived in that city. Our Chinese friends were giving the rest of us a guided tour of some of their favorite sites. Along the way, we stopped at an art shop that had beautiful, colorful sketches hanging on the walls. And most of the sketches included a word of wisdom that was also penned on the canvas. We came upon one that was a beautiful drawing of a grapevine with clusters of grapes. i asked one of our friends to translate the words that were inscribed beside the drawing. She read, “I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, bears much fruit, but without Me you can do nothing.” She was speaking the exact same words that Jesus had spoken to His disciples in a vineyard one night. She was reading an important truth that Jesus taught His disciples just minutes before His arrest. He wanted them to remember who He was, who they were and what their purpose was….