Here we stand at a turning point of our lives, at the end of one year and the bright beginning of another. Many of us will kick off the year with a bang as we stay up and ring in the New Year with loved ones. For most people, this time of the year brings reflection and renewal. Looking towards the New Year is like gazing off at the distant horizon as the sun begins to rise and the warmth of a new day touches all. At this moment your heart begins to see the hope and joy of a brighter day as the light from the sun impresses upon you. Too often we race through life moving from one moment to the next without any deep thought over have just transpired. The New Year gives the minister the perfect time to take a moment reflect upon the past and to strive for a brighter future.
We Reflect to Learn From the Body of Believers That Have Come Before Us.
As minister of the Gospel, we have the great joy and honor of being a part of a larger family of ministers, both past and present, each with a lesson to teach us, if we are only willing to open our eyes to their stories. Yes, we can learn from their success and strengths, but we must also seek to learn from their faults. There is strength in community and there is a great community that has come before us. And I pray, for the many generations that follow. Let us learn from those who walked the path before us and prepare those who will one day walk after us.
We Reflect to Celebrate.
It can be incredibly easy for us to focus on all the troubles an agony of this world. Sometimes the world seems dark and dismal, even for the pastor. I want to encourage us to reflect in such a way that we celebrate the work of the Lord, not only in our life but in those around us. For some of us, these moments in ministry are recounting some of the seeds planted in Gospel conversations throughout the year. For others, this might be witnessing a child recognizing spiritual truths, or even celebrating the growth of the church either physically or spiritually. Yes, there are bleak moments. Nonetheless, if we truly cling to the scripture we boldly proclaim, then we should find refuge in His words and look towards His Word as a lamp unto our feet guiding our very path. The key is keeping our eyes and heart open to the work of the Lord each and every day. Then celebrating each of these moments no matter how small or large we think they are.
We Reflect to Strengthen Our Home.
Ministry is a daunting task, to say the least, and the sun never sets on the work of the Lord. Life in ministry can be the hardest factors in the home of the minister. We must take time to reflect on our roles in the home. We have to ask ourselves several questions such as “Am I doing everything I can to protect my time with my family?”, “Am I protecting the home?”, and “Am I presenting a good example in the home to the next generation of what it means to be a faithful follower of Christ?” as we reflect on these questions, we must seek to protect the home and our time in it. It’s said that life in ministry is a glass house for all to see. If we are not careful, we can become more concerned about those looking in the glass house instead of those who dwell inside with us. I would encourage us each to make time with our spouses at the turn of the year to seek reflection over the home together. Maybe in this, as we reflect on our homes, we can seek ways to draw each other closer in the New Year.
We Reflect to Humbly Seek the Lost.
My prayer is as we reflect that we are reminded of the deep need of the Gospel in each of our communities. The term we give to the non-believer (lost) is strange because the truth is they are all around us. We know where they are. The ones we call lost are our friends, family, government officials, our local waitresses, and the clerks at our local grocery stores. We see these people we call lost all the time. My prayer is that we enter this year humbly praying to be more aware of our communities’ need for the Gospel and then to have the courage to boldly proclaim the truth of the Word of God.
Jim DiLavore is the Research Assistant for the Dean of the School of Preaching and Intake Coordinator for the Center for Text Driven Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. He is also the Pastor-in-Residence at Pleasant Run Baptist Church in Colleyville, Texas.