Two Ways to Make the Most out of 2017
It is crazy to think that as I write this there are only 363 days left of the year. Somehow the first two days have already zoomed by. I have heard it said that days go by fast but years go by slowly.
Time is the biggest commodity in our culture, much bigger than money. Once you use it, it is gone. It’s not made to be hoarded or saved; when it’s lost it is unrecoverable. And when you kill time, it has no resurrection.
If we are not careful, we can miss out on what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of those around us. He wants us to live in His fullness in this New Year.
Here are two ideas that we can take forward to be more mindful of making our souls prosper in 2017:
- Track Your Thankfulness
There are many times in the Bible where God would instruct his people to track their thankfulness. One, in particular, is in Joshua 4:
“Go back into the Jordan riverbed to the covenant chest of the Eternal your God, and each carry a stone upon your shoulder, (twelve stones for the twelve tribes of the Israelites) so that we may build a memorial of this day. Someday when your children ask you, “Why are these stones piled up here?” you will tell them how the waters of the Jordan parted as the covenant chest of the Eternal One crossed the river, and these stones will fix that memory for the Israelites forever.”
— Joshua 4:5-7
Memory was a really important part of entering the promised land for the Israelites. We can learn from their story that when we remember God’s promises — and His goodness — good things happen. But in times when they forgot, they began to turn to other things for meaning and put their trust in idols like money, power, position and possession.
A prayer for my life this new year is that I begin to be more intentional of seeing God’s provision by remembering the days I prayed for what I have now.
One way I track thankfulness in my life is by hanging mementos (like pictures or notes) from special events on a bulletin board at my house. When I see them, I am reminded of the significance of God’s provision and offer worship and praise to Him.
Danielle has another really cool way that she tracks her thankfulness each year:
“When we live a life of constant praise and thankfulness, there will never be room for negativity. That’s why in 2016 I began this thankful jar. At the end of each day, I wrote on a piece of paper something I was thankful for: someone in my life or something that happened on that particular day. Now on day 365, I get to open each note and reflect on the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness throughout this year. From releasing my first solo album to singing with Carrie Underwood, from finding lifelong friends to meeting the man of my dreams, 2016 was one of the best. And I believe in 2017, there’s more greatness in store. Happy New Year!” -Danielle Berry
2. Serve Others
This can seem a little counterintuitive. Sometimes we may not feel like giving to other people after long hours of work, exhausting extra-curricular activities and many other family situations that may occur.
When I think about it, though, I have never felt bad after serving others. In fact, I usually end serve days with statement’s like, “I really should do that more often.”
The Bible puts it like this:
“Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”
— Proverbs 11:25
There are a ton of ways to serve others more. You can serve through your church or alongside other local organizations that do good. But maybe the best way to serve others more is by allowing God to open your eyes and heart to areas of need around you; trust him to give you discernment to hear his voice, and when you do, act courageously and use the power given by His spirit to refresh others.
Cheers to 2017! Let’s make the most of it together & trust that God is going to continue to do amazing things in our church!