Sun. Jun 20th, 2021

The Bottom Line
James Bigelow

As an online bookseller, I am constantly on the lookout for items that I can purchase inexpensively and sell at a decent profit. A year or so ago I bought some used copies of “Bottom Line” books. The founder and chairman got into the business because he had tired of wading through volumes of publications in search of answers to his questions. He explained that when he finally did find an article that provided answers, it was usually so long-winded and confusing that he had to read it over and over in order to understand what the author was trying to say. He stated, “I needed the information accurately…concisely…and clearly written. And, I needed it fast.”

He wanted something that would ‘cut to the quick’ and get to ‘the bottom line’.

Those of us who have attended some business sessions know the feeling. We prefer that the reader of a resolution get to the bottom line as quickly as possible without boring us with lengthy ‘whereas’ preambles. “If you have something to say,” we feel like interrupting, just say it and quit beating around the bush.” We look forward to hearing the words, “Be it therefore resolved…” so we can take action.

New Year’s Resolutions date back to the ancient Babylonians, around 2,000 BC. They marked the day by returning something borrowed from neighbors during the previous year. Making a resolution became even more prominent in 153 BC when the Roman god Janus was often seen with two heads, one looking forward and one looking behind, which is symbolic of the ending of the old year and bringing in the new. The modem form of New Year’s resolutions is generally traced to Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac” of 1738. In it, Franklin writes why it is important to get rid of old habits and make better ones around the New Year. He stated, “Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout.” Another famous resolution was uttered by Ronald Reagan in 1948. He resolved “to believe nothing that I hear and only half of what I see.”

One of my siblings has an annoying habit (to me, at least) of prefacing most of her questions or comments with a lengthy, “Due to the fact that…”, or “Because I don’t know why…” before she finally gets to the point.

Many politicians, especially liberals, are good at double-talk. They don’t want to commit themselves; they are unwilling to make a direct Yes or No reply to some questions; they refuse to put their reputation on the line. The bottom line is that they have no bottom line.

I like it when pastors and saints get directly to the bottom line of the great commission by saying, “I will fully support the efforts of the Foreign Missions Division of the UPCI with my prayers and finances. I will commit to producing fruit that goes “over the wall,” rather than confine my services and resources to my local church.

The bottom line of this article is to encourage my readers to make a New Year’s Resolution from a biblical perspective. At the risk of someone opting out because of my ‘legalese’ terminology or because it sounds too business like, I offer you the following, which is based on 3 John 3-11 (English Standard Version).

“Whereas it will bring great joy to my district foreign Missions director if I will walk in the truth in regards to our missionaries, strangers though they may be, and, Whereas they, in turn, will testify of my love to other churches, and, Whereas our missionaries have gone out for the sake of the name, taking nothing from those among whom they labor; and, Whereas I wish to be a fellow helper for the truth by sending them on their journey in a manner worthy of God, Be it therefore resolved that in the current new year I will faithfully offer up thanksgiving and prayer unto God on behalf of those who put their lives on the line for the name of Jesus and I will, unlike Diotrophes, who refused to welcome the brethren because he liked to put himself first, imitate the good of Demetrius, who received a good testimony from everyone, and from the truth itself, by committing a goodly portion of the financial resources over which the Lord had made me a steward, by giving a generous faith promise every month because I want to be a fellow helper in the truth with our dedicated missionary families.”

PASTORS: Missionaries coming through Oregon on deputation can now be scheduled online by clicking on the Foreign Missions Department link at www.orupc.com.

This article “The Bottom Line” by James Bigelow was excerpted from Apostolic Accent Oregon pg. 11, March 2010. It may be used for study & research purposes only.

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