The holidays are over. 2021 is history, and we are now a few days into 2022. The New Year finds us reflecting over the year just ended and looking ahead with new resolutions, goals, and plans. We vow to be a better person, to do better. We commit before the Lord to be a better Christian, to be more consistent in Bible study, prayer, witnessing, missions, and/or other areas of our lives in the year ahead.
Several Scriptures over the past few days have really encouraged me as I begin this new year. The Lord, speaking through Isaiah (43:18-19) says, “Do not remember the former things. Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”
What “former things” from 2021 do I need to put behind me? What “new thing” is God wanting to do in my life?
My New Year had begun in the Gospel of Mark from “The Living Insight Study Bible.” Jesus is beginning His ministry. He calls and teaches His disciples. He is preaching and healing, casting out demons, and ministering to the people. Chuck Swindoll comments, “Throughout the Gospel, Mark describes Jesus as a servant. If Jesus is our model, then servanthood is our method. If servanthood is our method, then people are our ministry. We don’t serve things – we serve people. If people are our ministry, then involvement is our means: Touching lives. Listening. Taking time. Looking. Caring. Helping. Seeing the one person in the crowd who needs us, and taking the time to touch, hear, and help. That is servanthood.”
What does servanthood look like for you in 2022? How might He be calling you to serve? Who might He be calling you to reach out to?
This past Sunday a visiting preacher at our church shared about Barnabas. We immediately think of Barnabas as being an encourager. Encouragement is a big way that all of us can serve others. If there was ever a time that people (including all of us) need encouragement, it is now. We are going into our third year dealing with a pandemic, and it is just a bleak time.
Kentucky ended 2021, and began 2022, with devastating tornados and flooding across the state. Thanks to Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief for being on site to help during these times of crisis. Thanks to churches and individuals that helped with cleanup, encouragement, donations, and for just “being there” to support and encourage families that have been impacted.
Being a servant would certainly include being an encourager. November and December were extremely busy times for me as I worked with the Christmas Backpack program. Approximately 15,000 backpacks were filled for boys and girls in Kentucky. In-state churches provided 8,000 of these, with the remainder coming from partnering state conventions. Even though I get much joy and satisfaction from the Christmas backpacks, I was tired. Trying to make sure each location received the backpacks that were needed, and concern that we might not have enough backpacks to go around, I was grew a bit weary. But what an encouragement it was for me when, two days before Christmas I received a large envelope from a teacher of a group of Hispanic children in Lexington. These children were not on the list to get backpacks. However, I received a call asking if we possibly had enough backpacks for them to get one. There were no extra backpacks at the time but , after contacting other ministries, I was able to locate enough backpacks for these children. They were so appreciative. Each of them had written the sweetest “thank you” notes that I have ever received. Words that said:
- “Thank you for helping us to get the backpacks.”
- “I appreciate your kindness.”
- “I hope you have a great Christmas because you deserve one.”
- “You are so helpful.”
- “We appreciate the time of doing this for us, thank you.”
- “Have a great Christmas.”
- “We love you for that.”
- “I really like that you care about us.”
- “Some of it can go to a donation because some of it we already have so be aware it will go to a good home.”
- “It was a huge help.”
Needless to say, I was so blessed and encouraged by these students that took time just to say, “thank you.”
How can we say “thank you?” How can we be an encouragement to others in 2022? How can be a servant?
As Swindoll said, “See the one person in the crowd who needs us, and take the time to touch, hear, and help.” It could make or break someone’s day.
Happy New Year!! And thank you for serving.