Connect the Dots

By Pastor Jim Jenkins

Now here's a thought . . ..

January is the month when we try to implement our New Year's resolutions. For many of us it is losing weight, or hitting the gym. For some others it is some other sort of self-improvement. As I thought about the whole notion of resolutions, I thought of a few reminders the Lord has graciously given me over the years.

The first had to do with the good old days when I, as the pastor, assembled and printed the church bulletin. I had one lady who used to come up to me every Sunday after church and say, "So, found a new font, did we?" She also reminded me how grainy the graphics looked.

Does anyone remember the dot matrix printers? The big, clunky, loud machines with the tractor feeder. They had poor quality, due to the DPI (dots per square inch). I remember what a miracle it was when they came up with ink jet technology. This I concluded, will silence my Sunday morning critic.

She then said, "What's the matter can't the church afford a laser printer? They have much better DPI." The quality of the image is enhanced by the number of connected dots . . . hmm, that'll preach!

When I connect the dots in my life I can see that the Lord was conforming me into the image of his Son by means of seemingly random isolated incidents (dots). Good things and awful things all connect. The important thing is how I respond.

I remember seeing a cartoon years ago in a leadership journal. A dad is sitting in his easy chair, trying to read the sports page. His little boy keeps interrupting him. Suddenly dad has an idea. On another page of the newspaper, there is a full page image of the planet earth. Dad tears the paper into pieces, strews them on the ground and says, "There, son, it's a puzzle. You try and put it back together."

In a matter of a few minutes, the boy says, "All done."

Dad asks, "How did you do that so quickly?"

The little guy said, "Aw, it was easy. You see there was a picture of a man on the other side of the page? Once you get the man together, the world comes together just like that!"

Only when we trust that the Lord knows all about the dots in our lives will our lives come into resolution and yield the very image of Christ to those around us. This past year my best friend died. He and I went to seminary together and have spoken almost daily for over 30 years. He was the best man at my wedding.

When he started having some odd symptoms, none of us could imagined that in a matter of weeks he would be battling brain cancer. I flew back to Ohio to be with him. It broke my heart to see him. His face drooped, his speech was tortured and slurred. One night after I prayed for him. I told him that I would continue to pray.

He used every ounce of strength he could muster, strained to prop up his good side, looked me dead in the eyes and said, I . . . YAM . . . RESOLVEDD" Tears were streaming down both our faces. He knew I knew exactly what he meant. Maybe this New Year would be a good time to ask the Lord to connect the dots?

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