As we have passed from one year to the next I could not help but think about resolutions and the events that spanned all last year. Think about that; we have moved from an old year to a new one. Now, I realize that January 1 is an arbitrary day to celebrate the New Year and new beginnings, but the fact remains that the old has passed and the new has come.
Take a moment to reflect on last year.
Did you like who you were? What you did? Who you saw? Ventures you were involved in?
If the answer is yes; then, you can still make this year new. You can still evaluate what you did to repeat last year and even build upon its goodness to create an even better 2014.
If the answer is no; then, why is it no? Every day you have a chance and an opportunity to do something new. This world and we as humans are a work in progress and for the Christian—God makes new every morning, the Psalmist says. You have an opportunity to better your life, situation, relationship, employment; the list goes on and on. Every day you can improve your life by staying positive and applying hard work to whatever you do.
Paul writes to the Corinthians something about this idea of “old” and “new”. He wrote, “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”(1 Corinthians 5:17) In other words, God has given us a chance for change. We even learn during this same passage why all things are becoming new. The old passes not because of some random event that would happen anyway. The old passes because we are in Christ and in Him we are a NEW creation.
Why have we become new? We have become new so that God can give us the hope and future that he promised us in Jeremiah 29:11. This was not the only reason for our newness though. God has made us new that we be reconciled to him; however, not us alone, God has reconciled us that we might be given a restorative ministry. Our restorative ministry is to be used to reconcile others who do not know that Jesus Christ is Lord. That is what your purpose has been all along—to reconcile others to God that they can be in Him and be blessed.
This is my challenge to you this year that you begin your restorative ministry. Whenever you wake up in the morning, and as you go through your days, ask the Lord to allow you to use your ministry of restoration. God has placed you where you are for a risen. This world has its troubles; very real people have very real struggles. A smile; handshake; “Hey, how are you?” goes a long way to brightening someone’s day.
People want to see sincerity of heart and a love that captures their attention. When people see that you care they are opened to you, and your ideas, because of your sincerity. In fact, who better to give such love and commitment to someone in need than the people of God?
That being said, if you see someone who is downcast, alone, broken, or struggling (physically, financially, emotionally, or relationally) help him or her by sharing the love of Christ. Extend your hand of blessing to them setting their feet back underneath them where they can take off running to extend their hand to help someone else. Think about how this world would be changed if each one of us set it as a goal to reach a handful of people. The church would see exponential growth.
Jesus was among his people even though his own people did not receive him (John 1). Still Jesus was among them teaching, healing, and comforting them. If we are like Christ in this world; then, we must be in this world as he was in this world. He was in this world out for the world’s good. People cannot see that we are out for their good if we do not shine the light of Jesus from the hilltops.
This 2014, be the light of the world by sharing the love of Jesus not only in word but in action as well. James said it best, “…faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.”(James 2:17) Jesus said that you will know who his disciples are by the fruit that they bear not the name that they bring. If we strive to be called Jesus’ disciple we will be finishing the work he started. We are here to heal broken hearts, heal the sick, and deliver people from bondage to sin. In other words, we are here to have a ministry of restoration restoring all people to life filled with hope and peace.
Peace, love and Christ ‘cause you know He died for you!