World Vision founder, Bob Pierce, talks about New Year’s resolutions on a December 1959 radio broadcast. (Photo courtesy of Marilee Pierce Dunker)
By now, you’ve probably heard every tip and trick to making and not breaking New Year’s resolutions. You may have debated the pros and cons of setting one this year — or avoided the idea entirely.
Whether or not you’ve set any resolutions for the new year, you no doubt have — at least subconsciously — thought about the kind of person you want to be this year. How would you describe that person? Bold. Adventurer. Giving. Visionary. A leader. Driven. Prayerful. Faithful. Empathetic. Sacrificial.
Any of these sound appealing? Yeah, we thought so too. They’re how we would describe World Vision’s founder, Bob Pierce. Before he started what would grow into World Vision as we know it, he was all of these things because he sought after God and his will for his life on a regular basis.
The experts say it takes at least 21 days to make a new habit. Make a resolution you can follow through with. Bob Pierce gave some great advice about creating resolutions in a radio address as the calendar was about to turn from 1959 to 1960. While it’s been a few years since then, it’s really timeless wisdom, and we hope it will encourage you as you think about how you want to be remembered this year.
World Vision founder, Bob Pierce, in prayer. (©World Vision)
Surrender to God
“This is the time of year when it is traditional to make New Year’s resolutions; and for Christians, it is a great time to take stock of our spiritual estate. … After all the goodness and mercy that has followed me all the days of my life, what ought I do to please my Maker — this loving, gracious God?
Many of you know there are changes you need to make in your life this next year if you are to be what you must be before stepping into eternity. But let me remind you that no matter how good your resolutions are about your temper or morals or ungodly ambitions, the only thing that will truly help you change is complete surrender of your life to God.”
Examine promises you’ve made
“Come just as you are, yielding your sinful, needy heart to his cleansing power and Lordship. Then, with a transformed heart, look at the promises you’ve made to God and others so often — promises about the kind of life you have lived and the separate little failures and conceits of life that you want to change. Bring them as gifts of love and surrender to the Lord, and then make your New Year’s resolutions, knowing he can do what you can never do on your own.
Some of you have promised before to live for Christ, but time has slipped by and you never really did it. Perhaps you promised to do something in the church or with missions, but you lost precious years in pursuit of other things and now you do not have those years to give. But there many things you can still give to God, such as your prayers and your praise.”
World Vision supports an orphanage built by General Paik in South Korea in 1955. World Vision founder Bob Pierce, in center, stands with the children. (©1955 World Vision)
“Don’t wait another minute! Start now to form habits of living wholly to please the Savior. Pay your vow unto the Lord, and do it so that others will notice. What do I mean by that? There are some things you ought to promise God and then burn every bridge so that you can’t go back on your promise.
One of the best ways to do that is to openly proclaim what you are going to do before others. Then if it isn’t done, others will know you didn’t do it and hold you accountable. I tell you this from personal experience.”
“With all the promises you are making to God this New Year’s, don’t forget the missionaries and those who are pouring out their lives to reach the suffering millions of our world in Jesus’ name. Keep the gospel going out to the parts of the world where men have never yet heard that Christ died for them.
And remember World Vision as one of the arms of the church, carrying help to emergency areas — especially to many of our [local] brothers and sisters in Christ who have so little but give so much. Remember as you pray for the new year to ask God what he would have you do for the cause of missions.”