by John Hutchinson

The best 4-letter words

There are two four letter words which mean a lot to me - words which help me stare down failure and give the winning edge.

Next Time

The two empowering words are – 'Next Time.'

Many a great achiever and many a great discoverer only succeeded because of next time. When things go wrong you must think – "Next Time!" Next time may be your chance to turn things around and do better.

A wind farm proposal was rejected time and time again. But, the plans were resubmitted until wind turbines started generating pollutant-free electricity.

'Next time,' needs to be uncoupled from 'last time.' Last time can sour us with disappointments and failure. 'Next time' can urge us on with fresh vigour and determination.

But, 'last time' can also make us over confident. It's all too easy to say, 'I can do this again.' For what happened last time may be different next time. Next time, however, is rarely the same.

Never the same

I used to take teams of young people to distant sheep stations and help them develop their shearing skills. Often, when dealing with behavioural issues, we'd say, 'Next time we'll be ready for this.'

But, let me tell you, next time was never the same. Tactics that work today may be ineffective tomorrow. That is why we ever invent new weapons. Who'd go to war with muzzle load guns today – or bows and arrows? Enemies quickly learn!

The strongest fellow who ever lived painfully learned the lesson. His super human strength was dependent on a vow never to have his hair cut. But, his girlfriend found out his secret. When in deep slumber, she skilfully cut away his hair with razor sharp scissors. When his enemies entered, the shorn man said: 'I'll go out as I've done before...'

His brutal humiliation solemnly warns us against presumption. Nothing is the same!

Last time

Next time, however, is full of uncertainties, possibilities and probabilities – particularly in such a changing world. And, whilst we learn a lot from last time, we never know it all.

But, be aware of this: there will be a 'last time.' We'll run out of days and our opportunities will go.

God, however, promises new beginnings to those who trust Him. There's an exciting 'next time' for those who've done awful things – a next time for murderers and thieves - a next time even for terrorists. It's for all those who repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Saviour and Lord. Jesus said, 'I came that they might have life, and have it in all its fullness.'

Jesus proved there would be a next time when He rose from the dead. His resurrection authenticated all He said and did. It proved that He truly died for our sins. It tells us that next time with Him never ends. It's forever.

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