It is common to reflect on milestones during this time of the year. What significant events happened in my life last year? What would I like to see happen next year? A milestone historically referred to a roadside marker that tracked distance. These days, the word is more often used symbolically to refer to significant events in life and the people that are associated with them.
This season is the perfect prompt to stop and reflect on our values. Why not make 2020 a year of relational milestones? Why not build defining moments in your relationship with Jesus Christ and with others around you? You may even consider intentionally serving those who are “far away” geographically, socio-economically or in other ways.
My friend Clinton Perry demonstrates this type of intentional, others-focused commitment to service wherever he goes. When he traveled to Rwanda this year, he brought along deep perspective on genuine Christian service. He shared Galatians 5:13: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge in the flesh, rather serve one another humbly in love.” Clinton said that our service should be characterized by humility: “Don’t view yourself as better than the person you are serving.” He also recommends focusing on others, not ourselves: “Don’t make it about you. It is such a gift that God has chosen us to be a part of what He is doing.”
Another friend, Elaine Karman, is the perfect example of this type of service. In a recent text message to me, she shared, “I was thinking about when Jesus asked Matthew to come and follow him and Matthew just stopped what he was doing and followed.” It’s pretty simple.
As she described her own journey of service at Hope Haven Rwanda, Elaine wrote, “What an experience it was. I came away with two very strong messages. Our sense of poverty – projected onto those who do not have our “materialism” needs re-calibrating. Rwandans are full of the “riches of Christ.” And two, the incredible sense of forgiveness the entire nation has, after the 1994 Genocide, silences any and all the pettiness that is often displayed in our country. Rwanda proclaims Christ for their nation. Life is both precious and precarious, as every Rwandan has experienced. Racism has nothing to do with color, it’s raw evil and hate in peoples’ hearts. It’s the absence of Christ in one’s life. It is through Christ alone that we can truly transcend the ills of mankind that plague the world over. It’s nothing new or current; it’s our human nature without Christ. Our greatest blessing is the gift of a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.”
Where will God call you to serve in 2020? What milestones will you celebrate? What relationships will you build? In Christ, and in authentic relationship with others, we are accepted because of who we are and able to serve others freely and wholeheartedly. Go create some great milestones!