An Impoverished New Year

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It’s 2018. Yippee! (please read that “yippee” in a dead pan voice). Not being cynical, (though it is the nature of my generation) but we only went from December 31 to January 1. We do the same thing every 30 or so days. Nothing is truly different or magical about shifting from December 31 to January 1. We make resolutions. We want to see changes. But come February, we’re back to the same old same old from the previous year (yes, I’m sounding cynical again). So what’s different. Not much unless you look at this coming year differently. Not with resolutions of the will or body but a shift in the heart.

I’ve been reading through a daily devotional called A Guide to Prayer for all Who Walk with God. This morning’s section had this prayer which struck me for this coming new year. It read

“Extravagant God, in your love you have assumed our human impoverishment. May we become empty enough to receive he riches of life you offer us in the community of those who call you Lord. Amen.” (pg 54)

In my own cynicism, I wonder how much I’ve been willing to truly accept the impoverishment of God for me. Sometime back, I wrote about the Kinetic Church, a church based upon Philippians 2:1-11. Jesus Christ emptied himself and had the attitude of a servant, a slave, one without authority or power, impoverished, and was obedient to even dying on the cross. He emptied himself because power wasn’t something He felt He should grasp, but instead, gave completely of Himself. And the community who call Him Lord should do the same.

Are you ready this year to empty yourself? Are you ready this year to be part of a community, to encourage your community, to be one that empties itself to an impoverished state in order to be obedient to God? Are you willing to empty yourself in such a way that you become a passionate follower of Jesus, seeking ways to empty yourself to change lives and communities?

This is what it means to be a follower of Jesus—to empty yourself into an impoverished state that allows you to truly do justice, mercy, compassion. Once we who are part of the community that calls Jesus Lord are willing and do empty ourselves into an impoverished state can we truly live to be passionate followers of Jesus.

And you might be reading this and may not be a follower of Jesus. Okay. That’s fine. Keep reading. There’s something amazing when you empty yourself for others. There’s something wonderful about giving completely of yourself. This, in truth, is being Christlike in what you do.

Christians are called, told, commanded, to be like Jesus in every way, including emptying of ourselves for others. As Jesus gave of Himself, as Jesus gave of who He was, we too are to become impoverished like Him. As He loved, so we too much love. As He gave, we too must give. As He welcomed, so we too much welcome. As He emptied Himself for us, so we too must do the same.

For 2018, let this year be different. Let this year be the year in which you empty yourself as Jesus did. Let this year be the year that you become impoverished as Jesus did, giving of Himself. Let 2018 be a year where there is a shift in your heart. Not a resolution of body and mind but a shift of heart and soul. Let 2018 be a year of impoverished serving as a passionate follower of Jesus Christ.

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