By Bob Simpson, BCM/D Associate Executive Director and BaptistLIFE Editor
February is our first issue each year. As such, I don’t normally take the opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year. In the past, it just seemed to be old news by this point in time. However, this year I am going to do it. We all need a little encouragement from time to time. And after 2008, I am sure everyone could use some.
I hope each of you got a chance to rest and recharge over the Christmas Holidays. I certainly did. (As I write this I am up in the Shenandoah Mountains at my brother-in-law’s mountain house. Right now my wife, Lorraine, and I are helping her brother put together a Nativity puzzle he got for Christmas. For me that’s about as laid back as it gets. No T.V., no cell phone service available up here, and only some good conversation over a puzzle).
Now, of course, I am back to the reality of 2009. The times we live in are stressful. And they are very challenging. Ministry, while never easy, is probably as hard today as it’s ever been. We will need to stay connected with each other this year. We will need to pray for and encourage each other on a regular basis. We will also need to cut each other a little slack at times. There will be times this year when each of us will face our own set of unique stresses. We will need to understand each other before we seek to be understood. Typically, we usually move too quickly to judging each other without benefit of all the facts that surround those being judged. I am learning that a little encouragement, coupled with finding something to compliment someone about, really goes a long way. You usually get more with honey than you do with vinegar.
Let me urge you to join me in doing the obvious in 2009: Let’s really put the Lord first, each other second and ourselves third. Remember…when you write ‘Christmas,’ you have to put ‘Christ’ first. Let’s do that, of course. But it also honors Him when we prefer each other over our own selves. He gets the glory when we encourage and help each other along the way. So let’s be pleasant travelers on the journey in 2009!