First things first...my family would like to thank our Eastgate family for the generous gift given to us at our annual holiday fellowship last Sunday. We consider ourselves truly blessed by God to be in such a generous and loving family.
As one year draws to a close, we often take advantage of the time to reflect on the past year: the joys and the sorrows, the mountain tops and the valley lows; the blessings and the not-so-much blessings.
Once our reflection time is complete, we then look forward to the new year and make resolutions for the new year in light of our reflections on the past year.
As you use the next couple of weeks to reflect on the past and resolve for the future (and I hope you will), I want to encourage you to not just limit your thoughts and plans to things that are physical in nature.
Too often we limit our thoughts to things physical. If we can see it, hear it, taste it, touch it, or smell it...somehow it is more real to us and, thus, we make our resolutions accordingly.
For example, if your reflection of the past year tells you that you need to resolve in the new year to lose, say, 20 pounds then you probably need to see, hear, touch, smell and (mostly) taste less food (or better food).
When the new year becomes the old year, then there will be physical and observable results to tell you how you did.
But what about your spiritual life? Do you use this time of the year for reflection and resolutions about your spiritual life? I hope you do!
What are some ideas for reflection and resolution in your spiritual life? I’m glad you asked that question. Here are some suggestions:
Spend time reflecting on how much time in 2017 you spent in conversation with God (through prayer and study of His Word).
Spend time reflecting on your attendance at our services.
Spend time reflecting on the example you set for your friends, family, co-workers, and even those people who really don’t like you very much for whatever reason.
Spend time reflecting on how you have served others and, thus, served Christ (see Matthew 25:31-46).
Then, no matter what conclusion you come to about how “good” you did in 2017, resolve to do better in 2018!
How important is it to you that you attend every service of the church? For some it is of the highest importance (we don’t want to go against Hebrews 10:25).
For others, so long as they go to church and partake of the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7 it was the whole reason for coming together), they can leave anytime after we partake and they’ve done their weekly duty.
And there are others who really don’t see much purpose in assembling together at all. They will come if they don’t have anything better to do...and pretty much anything else is better to do.
I want to share something I read a while back in another congregation’s bulletin (who was reprinting it from another congregation’s bulletin). The article was titled “We Need Your Light.”
Many, many years ago a traveler came to a village when night was approaching. He saw several people walking down the street with their lanterns all going in the same direction. He stopped one of them asked, “What’s going on?”
The man replied, “These people are going to church. Every time they have evening church they were asked to bring their own lanterns to the evening service. There is no other way to light the building than for everyone to bring their own light. Each one of them realizes that if he or she is not there, the church will be darker.”
The traveler, curious, follows them into their fellowship. There he found that on every seat was a place to hang their lantern. As more and more people came, the building got brighter.
You see, when you’re not here, we miss you and our light is not as bright. Your light is truly needed. We don’t want our fellowship to be darkened. We want every one to see that we are not only a light to each, but a light to the world so that all may see the glory of God.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
No one likes to walk in darkness, therefore, let your light shine.
So if the brightness of the church depended on you, how brightly would our light shine?