It wasn’t until I moved overseas that I realized just how far the American church had strayed from the important things of this life. In all my years growing up, I had never been to a church that held a service on New Years Eve with the purpose of being on our knees as the new year dawned. Instead, we left the changing of the calendar up to family, parties, and the secular delights of watching a ball drop on Times Square and fireworks go up in the sky.
In countries where there is much less freedom to worship, Christ followers knew the importance of using this precious evening before a national day off from work to gather as a Body. They would thank God for helping them to survive and receive blessings while living in hostile environments and pour their requests before the Lord for the year to come, knowing that without him, there was no hope.
Have you experienced such a service? How has it impacted your view of this holiday?
In praying for the Church universal during this past year of unprecedented world events, I have been asking the Lord to use all that’s happened to wake the church from her slumber. Social isolation, I’m afraid, has led instead to spiritual selfishness, as many are clueless as to the reality of believers and peoples in other countries who have suffered much more than we have in the United States.
However, that same isolation can affect those on the field as well, and lead to a pulling away from supporters and prayer warriors who need to hear your stories of struggle, along with the victories. As much as you may hate to face another zoom meeting or video call, perhaps now is the time to open the phone lines, so to speak, and get upfront and personal with your rope holders. It’s for your own good and theirs as well.
We all need to look beyond ourselves to press through crises for his glory.
Though 2021 doesn’t bring any significant changes overnight to our global situation, perhaps it can and should bring a change to how we are facing it, both as cross-cultural workers and mission supporters.
- Ask the Lord to wake you up to the needs of others around the world.
- Seek his guidance on ways to reach out to your prayer supporters with specific prayer requests or financial needs.
- Use the days of 2021 to purposefully focus on others more than yourself.
- Consider what you can give up to give more this year.
- Purpose to pray for those outside your area of service, knowing their needs are as great as your own.
- Watch and see what God will do.
This new year is definitely a year faced that looks different from all others before. Thank the Lord that this can be a good thing as he sees his purposes fulfilled till Christ’s return.
May 2021 be a year you experience God in ways never before!
Grace and Peace