Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Meditations: Close the Batch

For a stretch of about three years, I found myself in banking. Strange because I’m horrible at math. I did, however, love people, which made me good at costumer service. I like my job but more than that, it taught me an important lesson.

Close the batch.

Because of the way banking is structured, a day’s work included two dates: the current date and the next day’s date after 3pm. It was, therefore, very important to make sure that all the work from one day was done before the work for the next day could begin. It was called “closing the batch”. Closing the batch meant finalizing all the transitions in that batch.

There were times, on occasion, that a teller didn’t finalize all their transitions. Talk about disastrous results, especially after the 3pm deadline. It took a good bit of time to got back, reopen the batch, finish the uncompleted transitions, and then open the new batch. And all this had to be done under manager supervision. Closing the batch became symbolic of moving forward. It also highlighted the danger of carrying unfinished or unresolved things into a new day.

This is a good lesson that is particularly relevant for this time of year when most people are making resolutions of what they are going to do different. Many of them fail because they haven’t done one important thing: closed the batch from last year.

Past issues cannot be carried into the New Year. Neither can sins and unhealthy habits.  These things need to be resolved before one can have any hope in moving forward in the new things God wants to reveal for 2013. We must make sure we close the batch, because if not, these old issues will poison the freshness of a new year.

So how do you close a batch of a year and start a new one? Philippians 3:13-14. “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

We must forget old mindsets, failures, setbacks and repent of our sins and press forward. That forgetting may include forgiving those who hurt us, renewing our mind against negative self-talk or being reconciled to our brothers and sisters in Christ. For some, we simplify need to live in God’s exchange rate and receive beauty for ashes and joy for pain.  Whatever it is, we must be diligent in closing the batch.

This whole process begins with prayer. Ask God what areas have left things undone. He is faithful to show you exactly which “transitions” you have to complete. Don’t let the problems of your past impact your new year. Close the batch.

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