God calls his people to be cheerful givers, who joyfully invest in his Kingdom. He doesn’t want empty gifts or leftover scraps, but has called us to freely, joyfully, and obediently give back to him from all that he has blessed us with.
God has uniquely created, gifted, and called His people, not merely to be beneficiaries of His Kingdom, but to be actively engaged participants in His Church. The question is not if you’re called to serve, but where and how.
When Jesus’ disciples answered his call to come and follow him, they not only entered into a relationship with Jesus but also joined the community of Christ-followers. We are not called to be lone ranger disciples who go alone, but rather are called and gifted to be fully devoted, active, and engaged members of the body of Christ.
We often focus so much on the Great Commission, that we neglect Jesus’ “first commission” to first and foremost be his disciple. This is not a one-time decision but is rather a lifelong commitment to follow him each and every.
The New Year offers a great opportunity to assess where we are and how we can grow. As Christians, we are in constant pursuit of growth in our relationship with Jesus and in how we faithfully live out and reflect his truth, holiness, and love.
Jesus challenges our definition of greatness. He tells his disciples that the last shall be first and that the first shall be last. This goes far beyond mere teaching, however, as Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, and sacrificial death powerfully demonstrate and exemplify this definition of greatness. Jesus comes to earth, not to be served but to serve. This was a challenge to James and John, and it remains a challenge to us today to pursue greatness through humble servanthood.
Luke begins his Gospel account with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. John is an amazing man of God, whom the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah and Micah referred to as the one who goes before the Lord and prepares the way. This is the same John who says that the one who comes after him is greater than he, whose sandals he is unworthy to untie.
Often we look to Matthew and Luke’s gospels during the Christmas Season, as they beautifully and powerfully narrate the birth of Jesus and surrounding events. John’s gospel, on the contrary, may not seem very christmasy on the surface, as he does not narrate many of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Instead, John goes back to the beginning of time, to creation itself, for his readers to see and understand that Jesus is more than a man. He is Emmanuel, God with us.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. He not only brings hope to a lost world; He is the very hope of God to the world, which all of scripture has been pointing to since the beginning. To celebrate the birth of Jesus is to celebrate God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his promises.
Thanksgiving is not just a holiday. It should be a way of life, as we continually praise God for who He is and what He has done. He is the one, the only one, who is worthy of all of our praise, even in and through the storms of life.