Now that 2012 is here, we’ll find out what the Mayans did and did not know. But of course it’s a time to look back at the events occurring during the earth’s previous trip around the sun, and look to the journey at hand. 2011 was quite the year for us Ware folk. One year ago we were celebrating Abbie’s first birthday, I had one course left for my Masters degree, I had just survived the busiest stretch in the history of the Restaurant I was cooking in, and I was still figuring out where God was pointing me in terms of ministry. 8760 hours later, I have a toddler, and a beautiful new daughter. My third really expensive piece of paper is hanging on a wall in the office of my new place of employment- which is not a restaurant kitchen. This new employment (the second ministry calling in the same year) took me 100 kms from the first home my wife and I had together, and the only home Abbie has ever known.
So what difference does all this make? Has it really changed me? Am I better off than I was this time last year? Am I loving more? Serving better? Making a bigger impact? Do I know more? Understand better? Have I grown up more? Most importantly, am I more like Christ.
It’s hard to say, because these vitals of life are also somewhat intangible. How do we measure all this? Of course, measuring success is done in a whole variety of ways by people who set up arbitrary categories. What the New Testament gives in terms of growth and development “targets” is somewhat vague- a call to be renewed and changed into the image of God; “you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:9b-10). In other words, our lives should be progressively changed by constant character growth- become more like our Creator.
How do I know if I’ve become more like my Creator and Redeemer? That I’m not sure I can say. We’ve seen some small signs of fruit in the ministry of Centre Street Baptist. Nothing miraculous or enough to make heads spin. But we see new life beginning to sprout. Jesus says that as we abide in him, we bear fruit. People have been blessed, encouraged, loved. While this may have little or nothing to do with my presence in St. Thomas, I have reason to believe that God has and is bringing his kingdom forward through my feeble ministry.
So what does 2012 hold? Well, two big ministries are in the immediate future, and a few other ideas are sitting in the back of my head. I am confident that what God has begun will blossom.
Now, since I’m on “vacation” I should get off the computer.