By Ryan Dunn
This is day one. Today is the start of something new. Today may not be a first step in a radical new direction. Rather it is the next first step in a continuing journey towards better.
What does “day one” mean?
Amazon, the empire of internet shopping, operates under a “day one” philosophy. The company, though it is 24 years old, continually operates like a start-up company. It is an ideology that embraces freshness. In a company letter, CEO Jeff Bezos noted how a philosophy of “day one” embraces innovation and learning. For a company as wildly successful at producing profits as Amazon, it is a bit startling to hear they are in a constant process of reinvention.
A day one philosophy is not a mindset that allows for getting overly attached to the past. In the company setting, it means that Amazon does not make decisions because “we’ve always had success doing it this way.” Nor does it limit them to say “we’ve never done it this way before.” It means that neither yesterday’s successes nor its failures exert undue influence on tomorrow. Amazon has a two-decades old history, but they believe things are just getting started.
Are we just getting started?
For a book that is 2000-3000 years old, the Bible communicates a surprising obsession with new things. A cursory read through of books like Isaiah, Ephesians, and Revelation note that the ultimate hope for the world is that it be made new. The Bible may actually be the story of God’s ongoing attempt at re-creating the world. In its pages, we often hear the voice of God suggesting “I am making all things new.” There is a sense of urgency in the words. They are not merely speaking to future events — they speak to the present. God is not waiting to make all things new. God is in action making all things new — right now. This is day one.
When popular sentiment has many believing the world is increasingly teetering on the edge of a universal dumpster fire, these words are highly counter-intuitive. They suggest that something better may actually come today. God is increasingly introducing new, creative ways of establishing justice, unity, and wholeness into reality. There are pains as new things are being birthed, but new things are coming. “I am making all things new”... and this is day one.
Signs of the world’s brokenness — like racism, sexism, apathy, and greed — may be generations old. But this is day one of a new creation in which such things are disappearing. We are innovating them away because we can let go of the idea that world has always been this way. The world’s trajectory is not to stay as it was. The world’s trajectory is to become something new. This is day one.
What if today was your first day?
If today were actually your first on the job of living, what would you do with it?
I am in my 40’s. My life is not without history. It is a history that includes successes and failures, lessons and celebrations. I have to admit that I have been part of the world’s brokenness. I have benefitted from racism and sexism. I have failed to love my neighbors as myself. But rather than be a symptom of brokenness, scripture promises that I have been made new:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! [2 Corinthians 5:17]
It changes my outlook quite a bit to think that things are just getting started. I have a history, but I am not tied to it. I am not bound to keep doing what I have been doing. This is day one towards something new. The world is being re-created into something new… and so am I daily being re-created into something new--and so are you.
Today is another opportunity to live into that new creation. It is day one, after all.
Ryan Dunn is the Minister of Online Engagement for RethinkChurch.org. He loves his job because it daily reminds that a better world is both possible and imminent. Ryan lives in Nashville, TN, with his family. He is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church.