“Well done, good and faithful servant!” – Matthew 25:21
The comic strip “B.C.” is one of my favorites. A recent one showed B.C., the cartoon’s main character, looking up the term “new year’s resolution” in the dictionary, and this is what it said: “technique used for modifying one’s behavior for the first two weeks each January.” Hmm, I thought, how many times through the years have I done the same thing, resolving to [fill in the blank] only too quickly to slip back into my old ways – usually in less than two weeks!
As this new year approached I could already sense the insincerity of the usual promises I was making to myself – eat less, exercise more, keep my desk neater, clean out the garage, etc. Then I found myself having a conversation with our lovely neighbors Linda and Mark from across the street that inspired me to try a different approach. They were having lunch recently at a popular local restaurant. The place was packed with lots of people on the wait list. So Linda and Mark volunteered to share their table with another party if they were interested, a thoughtful gesture and a win-win for both the restaurant and its waiting patrons. As it turned out a young couple with a small child – total strangers – accepted their offer. Immediately they all hit it off and had a great time eating together. Then, being the generous folks they are, but much to the astonishment of their dining partners, Linda and Mark without fanfare picked up the entire tab.
Linda and Mark’s story made me realize that most of my past new years’ resolutions have typically been about things that pertain to me, seldom others, which may be why they never last more than a couple of weeks. So, inspired by my good neighbors I have a new resolution for 2016, to be kind, generous and befriending toward strangers, take time to help someone in need, and most importantly to express gratitude to those who serve in so many ways to make our lives better – teachers, waiters, clerks, nurses and doctors, law enforcement and military personnel, construction and maintenance workers, and selfless volunteers. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I’ll try to say to someone each day. Maybe somewhere along the way it will help or encourage someone. And perhaps, unlike B.C. this modified behavior might even last beyond the first two weeks of January.