Happy New Year! Welcome to 2021! WOW! The new year has officially arrived. How did you ring in 2021?
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the word of the year for the Bantau family is transition. As we head into 2021, Sweet T and I know that there will be changes. There will be some things we bring with us from this past year, like lessons learned, as we venture ahead toward new opportunities. We look forward to seeing what the Lord will do both in and through our lives.
One of the things that I love about blogging is the sense of community that develops over time. This doesn’t happen over night, but definitely blossoms if you are diligent, intentional, and nurture those relationships that blogging brings into your life. That means you will need to respond to people’s comments, read other people’s blogs, and look for ways to interact with your blogging community.
Yesterday, my blogging friend Beth Alisan, who blogs at Lessons from a Lab – My Daily Walk with the Lord and My Labrador, shared this blessing from God’s word in the comments of my New Year’s Eve post.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands.Psalm 90:17
What a beautiful thought to kick-off the New Year that is in front of us! 2021 ushers in a new ministry opportunity that I will share more about in the near future. For now, suffice it to say that Sweet T and I are both excited about this new opportunity. I am continuing my work as a workplace chaplain, reaching out to people where they spend 60-70% of their time.
I would like 2021 to be a year where I am more compassionate, gracious, kind, and loving.
When we demonstrate concern and have sympathy for others, we are being compassionate. In fact, the word compassion originates from the Latin and Greek words meaning “to suffer with.” It’s easy, when it comes to people, to rush to judgement and assess the entire story by what we see on the outside. Truth is, we never know what burdens someone else may be bearing. God instructs us to love our neighbor. To me, that means caring for the needs of others and helping people where and when I can. Compassion elicits a desire for us to alleviate the suffering we witness someone else enduring. Compassionate people are patient, kind, wise, and warm. They are often persistent, resolved, and able to persevere. A compassionate person can relate to being down on your luck and, because of their own personal experience, has the ability to demonstrate great empathy. We could all exercise a little more compassion, withholding judgement while we strive to learn more about what someone else is going through.
To me, being gracious means I am willing to show you the same grace that God showed me. Gracious people are courteous, respectful, and forgiving. In order to demonstrate forgiveness, we must first experience forgiveness ourselves. In my life experience, that ability stems from having experienced God’s forgiveness. Scripture teaches us that we are imperfect and fall short of the Lord’s glory. None of us are without fault or flaw. But, we do not need to allow our blemishes to diminish us. God can restore us back into the likeness in which we were originally made. Therefore, we can treat people like we want others to treat us and be gracious to all we encounter as we go about our daily lives. We should never be okay with mistreating anyone. When we are gracious we shine God’s light into the lives of those we meet.
A person who is good-natured, benevolent, and considerate of others is the picture book definition of kind. Think of the kindest person you know? What qualities do they demonstrate that you can adopt and emulate? Being kind costs us nothing, yet yields us everything. People are drawn to those who are kind to them. Think about it—nobody wants to be around someone who abuses them or mistreats them. Again, we should never be okay with mistreating someone—no matter how vehemently we might disagree with them. When we are kind, we are showing the love of God that is living and breathing in us. Too often, we permanently damage our witness by being unkind.
We can show kindness through our actions by sharing with someone who we knows needs something we can give them . What if you and I committed to doing one act of kindness every day to impact someone in a positive way?
To be loving means that we show great care and tremendous affinity for those God has put in our lives and for those who cross our path. God doesn’t just intend for us to be loving to those we know, but to strangers we don’t know as well. The Lord wants us to be loving to the seemingly unlovable, to the marginalized, and even to those we might consider our enemies. At first, this might seem hard. But, remember, while you and I were enemies of God in our sin and rebellion, God showed His great love for us through His son, Jesus Christ. No one has greater reason to be done with us than God. Yet, He chose to love us when we were least deserving of it.
Love, as Scripture teaches us, keeps no record of wrongs. Love doesn’t keep score. Love doesn’t play the victim or blame others. Love means we are willing to let go of things we might be tempted to hold onto. Love doesn’t mean that we continue to accept unacceptable behavior. Love doesn’t mean we act as a doormat for those who continually mistreat us.
Love, at its finest, is unconditional. It is the love that your parents (hopefully) showed you. It is the love that God showed me and demonstrated to you as well.
- What traits come to mind when you think of what it means to be compassionate?
- How can you demonstrate more graciousness in your life?
- Who do you think of when you think of the kindest person you know?
- What act of kindness can you perform today that will positively impact someone’s life?
- How can you be more loving?
Lord, thank You for being compassionate, gracious, kind and loving towards me, especially when I did nothing to deserve it. Thank You, God, for Your mercy and grace. Help me demonstrate the same compassion, grace, kindness, and love to others as You have shown me. Open my eyes and my heart to the needs of others. Let me be the hands and feet of Jesus to those I encounter each and every day. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Yes, there are things we will bring with us into the New Year. There are also things we undoubtedly will leave behind. As we transition into this new chapter, know that you are loved. There is a God, who loves you and would delight in a relationship with you. Won’t you give the Lord the opportunity for you to know Him?
I’m praying for you. I believe you can experience a better year than you’ve ever had before. Keep a true perspective. Know what’s in your power to change and recognize what’s not. Trust in the Lord and keep your eyes planted on Jesus. May the Lord shower His blessing upon you in this New Year.
Under Christ, for the Glory of Christ.
The Devotional Guy™