Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Repeat of Last Year at This Time

In starting a new year I am not sure what is different in my heart and life today. The turn of the calendar does not seem to catapult me into new beginnings, new starts, and new resolutions. It never has. I look back on years of journaling and turn to those pages that follow the New Year and my lack of motivation for change is ever so present. It’s really not a lack of motivation. I guess I look at the unresolved in my life through out the year and work through resolutions one day at a time. The turn of the calendar does not all of a sudden mean, for me that life will be different.

My desk is still messy, my kitchen remains spotless after each meal, and I have the same extra weight that I had last year. I resolve to clean my desk. Nah, it’s a constant motion of change and I can find things just fine. I don’t share this space with anyone so it will remain true to my sense of organization.

There are things in my life that could use some refining, fine tuning and adjustments. My hope is that I am aware of these things long before the end of the year and that God reveals to me what these things might be. This evening I asked God to reveal to me and make me aware of how I can work towards building His Kingdom. I just started reading a small book I read almost 20 years ago. I have read many books in the past 20 years and only keep those that inspire me to love Jesus more, understand Him more, and catapult my heart and spirit into new understandings.

Last night I made the mistake of falling asleep around 7:00pm; this had me wide awake at 1:00am. So I went to my small library of books and thought it might be fun to reflect on what I have read in years past. Our pastor spoke on Sunday morning about the name of Jesus, so I picked up “In the Name of Jesus” by Henri J. M. Nouwen. There are only 81 pages and the book is half size, so a really easy read. I picked up this book when I was a Young Life leader over 20 years ago. Its message is “Reflections on Christian Leadership”. I underlined this one part of the book. This is the only part I highlighted in the entire book. Last night and earlier today I read this part over and over. And this is now my resolution, so I will share this excerpt.

Taken from John 10:14-15

“As Jesus ministers, so He wants us to minister. He wants Peter to feed his sheep and care for them, not as “professionals” who know their clients’ problems and take care of them, but as vulnerable brothers and sisters who know and are known, who care and are cared for, who forgive and are being forgiven, who love and are being loved.

Somehow we have come to believe that good leadership requires a safe distance from those we are called to lead. Medicine, psychiatry, and social work all offer us models in which “service” takes place in a one way direction. Someone serves; someone else is being served, and be sure not to mix up the roles!

But how can anyone lay down his life for those with whom he is not even allowed to enter into a deep personal relationship? Laying down your life means making your own faith and doubt, hope and despair, joy and sadness, courage and fear available to others as ways of getting in touch with the Lord of life.

We are not healers, we are not the reconcilers, and we are not the givers of life. We are the sinful, broken, vulnerable people who need as much care as anyone we care for. The leadership about which Jesus speaks is of a radically different kind from the leadership offered by the world. It is a servant leadership in which the leader is a vulnerable servant who needs the people as much as they need him or her. A leadership that is not modeled on the power games of the world, but on the servant-leader Jesus, who came to give His life for the salvation of many”

Who are we in leadership over? I believe we who are lovers of Jesus are called to serve His Kingdom. I am thankful for sleeping to long in the early evening. I am thankful for our pastor and his message on the name of Jesus. I am thankful that in this New Year I am reminded of my service to His Kingdom through the writing of a book I read some 20 years ago. Who are we serving and who’s method are we using to serve? Are we choosing to serve through worlds idea of service or through the model that Jesus offers?

John 10:14-15

“I am the good shepherd and I know My own and My own know Me. Even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Happy New Year!!!!


  1. I really enjoyed this post. My desk is constantly messy too and always will be. I clean it when it starts to bug me. : )

    Happy New Year~

  2. It is so much easier for me to sit and listen to others and to minister to them... it is so awkward and uncomfortable for me when I am the one is is the one speaking and being ministered to. I have come to realize that it is good for me to be ministered to... because I learn so much more about how to be a compassionate listener and minister.

    Thanks for keeping the late night hours!
    Happy New Years!

  3. Elizabeth I'm so glad you are back. Your posts always make me think and are so enjoyable. I have this book too. I bought it at a thrift store awhile back and your post has encouraged me to go back and re read this little book.

    I kind of use my blog like a journal. I may get it put into a little book someday. I do like the idea of being able to go over the journal entries for the past year.

    I did make a resolution this year, but like you I rarely make any. I always make one crazy one just for fun though. This year I have went on a book buying diet because I really need to read the books I already have in my possession. We are also making a military move this summer so we need to organize a lot of things.


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