According to Robert’s Rules of Order, resolutions are not binding. That is, they do not require any action on the part of the body which adopts the resolution. If Congress passes a resolution recognizing the courageous service of a soldier, the resolution stands on its own. No action or follow-up is required. Likewise, if a legislative body passes a resolution expressing concerns about homelessness in their communities, the resolution stands alone. No action is required. No affordable home needs to be built. No entry-level apartment or counseling center is open. There is nothing to do. Resolutions do not require any action. They are not binding.
Each new year, we make a big deal on our New Year’s resolutions. We are going to lose weight in the new year. We are going to be nicer, more sensitive. We are going to learn another language. We are going to do a lot of things.
And we don’t do any of them.
Because the resolutions are not binding. Resolutions express the feelings of an organization at a given time. Likewise, New Year’s resolutions convey our feelings about certain aspects of our life. We wish we would lose weight. We want to eat better. We wish we read our Bibles more and we wish we were nicer to our friends.
But there is a difference between wishing and wanting.
Several years ago I was playing golf with a very talented young man. I got up and hit my drive and as usual the ball went well where I was aiming. As I tried to watch my ball to see where it was going to go down, I heard my friend laugh. Now I don’t know if you know, but it’s very rude to laugh at another player’s poor shot. It is considered bad form.
So I asked my friend, “What are you laughing at?
“I’m making fun of you,” he said.
“Why are you making fun of me?”
It was then that I learned that there is a big difference between wishing and wanting. Wanting means that you want something and that you take the necessary steps to make it happen. To wish means that you would like to see something happen, but you are not doing anything to guarantee the desired results.
Do you want to lose weight? Then change your diet and start working out. If you don’t do these things, you don’t want to lose weight. You are just wishing.
Most of our New Year’s resolutions are just wishes and without action none of them will come true.
If you talk to anyone in the business world, most will tell you that there is no shortage of strategic planning or visionary mission statements. What is missing is execution. After all the planning retreats, PowerPoint presentations, budget proposals, and forecasting spreadsheets, nothing gets done. Go to any church of any size and you will find a strategic plan that the church has unanimously adopted by the church sitting on a shelf somewhere in the copy room. After all of the leadership retreats, hours spent in listening sessions, and round and round discussing the proper wording of the vision statement, all culminating in congregation approval …
… and nothing was done.
So the question is not, “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” The question is, “What will you do differently this year to BE different in the new year?” To have a different year, we’re going to have to make different decisions. We’re going to have to do different kinds of things. So what will you do differently?
The decision for the New Year is to read our Bibles at least 6 days a week. We will join a small group who really want to follow Jesus. The result is that after a year we will be more like Christ. If, however, we decide to be more like Christ, nothing will happen and nothing will change.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again (like New Years resolutions?) Expecting a different outcome. So let’s do something different this year. Let’s make no resolution. Let’s change our behavior. Let’s change our actions.
Want a better marriage? Great. What will you do to create a great wedding? How many times a month do you go on a date with your spouse? How will you handle your arguments? What will you do differently?
Want to lose weight ? How will your diet change? How many times a week will you be going to the gym?
Love is action. Obedience is action. If we want to be different in the New Year, then we will have to do things differently.
So what are you going to do differently in the coming year? Change is not a plan. It’s more than a word. It’s action.