"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires." (Ephesians 4:22 NIV)
New Year's holiday used to come and go just like any other workday. Now it seems like so many years ago when we used the time at the end of the calendar year to climb all over the shelves and boxes of school supplies, educational equipment and office furniture to do a physical inventory. The motivation for this came from our accounting firm who let us know that was the only accurate way we could determine the cost of goods sold in order to figure out if we were making or losing money in our operations. Furthermore, the state wanted to know how much inventory we carried in order to collect an ad valorem taxes.
At inventory time, we also discovered things hiding behind boxes in some far corner of the warehouse that we had completely forgotten about. Then would begin the discussion over who was to blame for ordering something that obviously was not a good selling item. This would usually come down to a salesperson who had prematurely ordered something from the factory without a firm purchase order from the customer. That was long before the day of the modern on-line auctions when you can find somebody in some part of the world who will take just about anything off your hands.
Prior to taking stock of all the inventory, the first order of business was to go shelf by shelf arranging items so that it would be easy to call out the item to the person who would write down the quantity and description on the inventory tally sheet that was on the clipboard. The person doing the writing would also record the exact location. The one doing the calling was usually more knowledgeable of the various product descriptions and vendors so that the inventory was recorded accurately. This was long before anyone used bar code scanners. Just to verify accuracy, sometimes the caller would ask the writer to repeat back what he or she wrote down.
One of the chief benefits of this year-end activity was the discovery of inventory that was beginning to "grow whiskers" and was no longer hot in the marketplace. Armed with this information, we cleaned the shelves of this undesirable product so that new items that were turning over faster could take up that valuable shelf space. Sometimes this old inventory was marked way down and sold below cost just to make room for new inventory. Usually it was given away to some struggling private school. One such wonderful school helped teach and train those with learning disabilities. At that time, there were no government programs to help parents in their struggle to care for their loved ones.
Any sales organization that wants to remain dynamic and competitive in their market must rid their stores and warehouses of outdated inventory. That often includes old ideas and old ways of doing things. Products currently in demand must occupy the shelf space that was formerly not producing any income for the company. As one wise sage advised me when I was a young manager, "you must carry what the hogs are eating."
Human beings often carry around a lot of baggage left over from a dark, negative and unproductive period of life. If they continue to lug these heavy burdens around, they run the probable risk of drowning in senility and ineffectiveness. The Bible word repentance carries with it the concept of cleaning out the old self and replacing it with the new self, remade in the image of Christ.
The word Christian reflects a person who is now living with Christ as the very foundation and goal of life. Negative characteristics are not how we describe a sincere follower of Jesus Christ. Granted, the Christian life-style may be viewed by some as out of touch with the post-modern lifestyle that is pumping with the false energy of self-indulgence. When an individual makes the decision to accept Christ as their Master, they first must put away the things that prevent them from living a wholesome and productive life as a Christian.
It is repulsive to think about a person who wears the name Christian and attends the regular meetings of the church and yet when they are not with the church, they live as if they are still enslaved to sin. Christians should always be good neighbors in any community. True repentance demands that we put off the clothes of a lying deceiver and dress ourselves with the clothing of a person whose word can be trusted by all our neighbors.
Anger that is carried to bed with us at night may make it necessary to visit the doctor more often and require more pills to calm the unrequited feelings of vengeance toward someone who has injured or insulted us. Jesus correctly compares the strong emotion of anger with murder. As we begin this New Year, why not replace anger with a determination to make reconciliation with anyone who has done us harm. This becomes easier whenever we reflect on the damage we have done to others.
One of the marks of a person who has not turned their life over to Christ is that they continue to speak ugly things about other people. They may even delight in making cut-downs of people right to their face. I don't mean the kind that is done in jest with a close friend who is also a nut and understands your jesting. I'm talking about the bitter attitude of a person who might say to a little boy of another complexion, "Little boy, what are you doing around here, your kind is not welcome in this town." Such an attitude does not come from the mind of Christ but rather it is straight from Hell.
Just think what an improvement we can experience in our families, churches and the entire community if we will replace old negative thinking and behavior with the attitude of Christ. When we begin to think and act like Christ in all areas of life, we will do our best to imitate the mind of God in all situations. This is the attitude of love toward all people in the world without any prejudice.
You are encouraged to attend the services of the Church of Christ at the corner of 3rd and E Streets. Write me with any questions or comments. David Binkley, Sr., P.O. Box 186, Cedar Key, FL 32625 or E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also request to receive the daily WORD OF THE DAY by e-mail. Check out our web site at www.cedarkeychurchofchrist.com