…and a Happy New Year
These words conclude the familiar song we sing at the Christmas season in a concert or when Christmas caroling. I think we often place the emphasis on the lyrics, “We wish you a Merry Christmas” and forget that sharing hope for the new year is also important. We come to the start of another year and those of us who are growing a bit older really do appreciate those “new” years as they seem more precious.
Each new year provides the opportunity to evaluate our life and perhaps make some needed changes. Now, we know we can do that at any time and not wait on another calendar year to roll around, yet the new year does provide time for reflection of the past and setting goals for the future.
As I think of the word “multiply”, I remember the words of the late Roy H. Mays III, when he would often remind us as students at Cincinnati Christian University, that we needed to “multiply our ministry.” This was one of his favorite admonitions. Hearing it over and over again, it would start to sink into the fertile minds of those of us who participated in the university’s music ensemble or Come Alive programs.
Roy wanted to make sure we knew that he expected us to not just go and sing or enjoy fellowship on our school trips, but rather to invest our lives into the teens we visited in churches and camps. It really made us think about our actions around those people. What would they remember about us after we returned to Cincinnati?
As a music professor at CCU and later at Johnson University Florida, I enjoyed investing myself into the lives of many students, but I also realized that my time with these students was limited by time. I only had a certain amount of time with them, then they would graduate. I learned that ministering with people in the local church provided a greater long-term involvement in their lives. It has been enjoyable to look back over 40 years of ministry and see those lives and the fruit they have produced for the Kingdom of Christ.
Multiplying our ministry does take effort and purpose. It does not come easy as it involves our time, patience, and love. But, as I look back over many long-term friendships, that time, patience and love was well worth the effort. We need to keep investing ourselves in others. It is the Biblical plan!