Top ten lessons from 2020

Photo: March 2020 Hunter-gatherer returns from early morning hunt for elusive prey, the toiletus papyrus.

I have in my sanitized right hand, direct from my “bubble” in Corn Borer, Indiana, today’s category: Top ten lessons from 2020.

10. Mother Nature is not always our friend. This year was not only plagued by a worldwide pandemic but by devastating wildfires, deadly earthquakes and famines, as well as a record number of hurricanes. And don’t forget killer bees!

9. Riches are fickle. The stock market plunged to record lows almost overnight, but then recovered to record levels. I do wish, however, that in 2019 I would have invested in toilet paper, disinfectant and plexiglass.

8. Time is valuable! We were given a long—albeit forced—vacation. I’m thankful for two books written, major yardwork and deep-cleaning of my office.

7. Despite all our feelings of strength, wisdom and independence, life is incredibly fragile! We lost a dear lady from our small group who would always find me on Sundays for a hug. I’m so glad she’s really not lost, but found in the arms of Jesus!

6. Some people are incredibly selfish and irresponsible; others are even more selfless and responsible. To quote Charles Dicken’s classic book, The Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.”

5. Healthcare workers are the true heroes in our world. We managed to live very well without overpaid and overhyped star athletes, movie stars and rock stars. But we can’t live without medical researchers and practitioners! Acclaim, admiration, esteem, honor, kudos and praise to all men and women in health care who have worked tirelessly this year.

4. The church is not a building or a plethora of programs. “House churches” were the original church and personal contact is the most effective way to spread the Gospel! I am, however, thankful for technology “for such a time as this.”

3. The most important things in life are our faith and our families. I loved hanging out with my daughter’s girls while they were out of school from mid-March to September! And I hated not seeing my out-of-town son and family for birthdays and holidays! (I am grateful we got together for Father’s Day with masks and social distance!)

2. In God we trust. The government, media or science, not so much! I do trust that God will take what diseased bats intended for evil and will work it for our good (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28): time with family, time to study his Word, and a strong motivation to spend more time in prayer!

1. “Three things remain: faith, hope and love.” The best things in life are not things! That, indeed, may be the most important lesson from the cruel school master of COVID-19. I trust we’ve learned these truths and can move on in 2021

Copyright © 2020 James N. Watkins

But wait, there’s more! Here are some of my favorite New Years columns:

My annual predictions for the New Year
These have have been 99 percent accurate for the past 20 years. I know, it’s kind of scary!

God has a plan for the new year
Yep! He has a plan for your relationships, schedule, location and more for the new year as evidenced in the Christmas story. He’s more organized and in control than the best party planner!

Keeping those resolutions
From the award-winning The Why Files series, here’s hope and help for “Breaking Habits Before They Break You.” You can develop new habits in the new year.

More than lighted balls drop on New Year’s Eve
Time Square’s lighted ball gets all the press, but other cities across America drop all kinds of things at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve. Some very strange things!

Photo and lighting: my 13- and 15-year-old granddaughters. Great job!

Have a God-directed New Year! And if this was helpful, please share on your social networks. Thanks!


Author and speaker

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