2010 blew by us and here we are starting a new year. People have all sorts of new year’s resolutions and personal commitments that they make at this time of year. It is a great time to reflect on the past year and re-prioritize our lives. There is an incredible amount of clarity that it seems only hindsight can provide, an advantage you don’t have in the moment of decision.
As I look back at the past year, I see many wonderful things that the Lord has done. Every time I have stepped out in faith and followed his Word, he has poured out his Spirit and blessing. Seeing the fruit that comes from obedience is a great encouragement to continue on and take the next step or walk through the next open door.
Reflection also gives us a chance to look at our mistakes and the decisions that led to them. We could all give several examples of poor decision making from our own lives in just this past year alone. The number one decision that usually leads to a mistake is the decision not to pray about it. Funny how even in retrospect that is one thing we generally fail to recognize. Did we commit this thing to prayer? Did we wait for an answer? Were we willing to obey when we received it?
Regardless of what you did this past year or what decisions you would like to have back, there is one area in which I would encourage you to broaden your horizons in this year. Think of those people in your life, whether at school, work, in the neighborhood, or in your family who need to be saved. Make a conscious effort to think of ways in which you may be able to demonstrate Christian love to them. Consider how you might be able to get an open door to speak to them about Jesus Christ and their need of Him.
How many people do you know who would make a resolution to share the gospel with more people? Our new year’s resolutions typically revolve around ourselves and how we are going improve our looks, our fitness, our diet, etc. How about being determined and resolved to give the glorious gospel of everlasting life to a lost and dying world?
As I said before, hindsight provides great clarity. So look back at 2010 and give yourself an honest assessment. Honestly, how many people heard the gospel from you this past year? How often did you knowingly pass up an opportunity to share the love of Christ? How many times did you find yourself in a situation where you wondered about a person’s salvation but did not open your mouth? Putting aside those times when you let opportunities slip by, how much more do you think you might have been able to do if you had consciously decided to be prepared and find ways to make the effort to witness? Think about it for a moment.
Perhaps you are an active evangelist. Are there people in your life who you know you should be sharing with, but just haven’t because its been awkward or inconvenient? I’m sure you can think of a few.
Maybe you are not a seasoned evangelist and just the thought of opening your mouth and telling others about Jesus grips you with fear. Think about leaving a tract with a solid gospel message for someone to find and read. Get yourself some training materials that will help you get your feet wet.
Brothers and sisters, we don’t have a lot of time. Think about how fast time flies by. I remember in the 80s when I was in grade school, thinking about the year 2000 and wondering what life would be like. I would be old enough to drive, get married, have kids, etc. It seemed so far away and distant. Well, Y2K came and went, and even that is way back there in the rear-view mirror already. Here we are, in 2011! It seemed like just yesterday when the World trade Centers fell. This year will mark the 10th anniversary.
Often we think of eternity and Judgment Day and they seem so far away and ghosty. But it will come upon us so fast. In just 50 years, give or take, you and everyone you know will be dead. No one on earth will remember you or think of you. You will be like the flower that blooms for a moment and fades away back into the dust. Then who will care what car you drove, what house you lived in, what clothes you wore, how many goals you scored or how many animals you shot? We’ll be standing in the presence of the Lord and it will seem like yesterday when we were in this moment. Will you be lamenting the amount of time and gifts that you wasted?
There are only certain things worth living for and spending our time on. What are you doing that has eternal value? Make your new year’s resolution count. Even if its not your new year’s resolution, make the decision today to give more of your resources and talents to something that will last beyond the grave. Jesus told us to build treasures in heaven. Let us follow his example and lead lives that are totally centered on glorifying God and loving others.
Until next time… See you on the streets!