Kingdom Year In Review

As convenient as technology is, surprisingly, it’s not my favorite things.  Yes, technology makes life easier in many ways, but it can also be intrusive.  Despite my love/hate relationship with technology, every now and then I am blown away by the many things that technology can show me about my own personal behaviors.  One day when opening one of the music apps that I use frequently, I had the option to replay my year in music. Not knowing what that was, I clicked the button, which took me to a highlight reel of all of the music that I listened to in 2023.  With that one click, the number of hours I spent playing music, the type of music I played, the song I listened to the most, the album I listened to the most, and the genre that I “came back to again and again”, was on display for me to see.  I had no idea what the results would be, but I can say that I was pleasantly surprised that my most listened to genre, the genre that I continued to come back to again and again, was “Christian.” What a great way to see that even musically, I seek to internalize and meditate on content that will nourish my soul and draw me closer to the Lord.  

Applying that same concept to your work for the kingdom, what does your year in review look like? How many people have you invited to visit your church this year? How many times have you answered a call that may have been put forth in the church to volunteer, even if it wasn’t convenient for you? How often did you spend time in prayer with the Lord? What was your consistency of studying your Bible this year? All of these things contribute to building God‘s kingdom here on earth, as well as strengthening your personal relationship with the Lord. And even though this Kingdom work is for the glory of God, it also feels really good doing the work. (Acts 20:35) What may start out as a sacrifice, will eventually become something that you look forward to doing.

About 13 years ago, when living in North Carolina, I volunteered for the YMCA (The Y) at a “Breakfast with Santa” event.  All volunteers were asked to wear volunteer shirts provided by The Y, so attendees could easily recognize volunteers if they needed assistance.  The front of the shirt was pretty unassuming with a small YMCA logo, but on the back of the shirt were words that I pray I never forget.  The back read, “Volunteer: I gave something, expecting nothing, and gained everything.”   That is exactly how God works. When God knows your heart is pure and he can trust your motives, he can and will bless you in ways you never dreamed of. (Ephesians 3:20-21) Often times when we hear volunteers needed for a certain event, we’ll say to ourselves, “Sure I’m not doing anything. I’ll go ahead and do it not expecting to get anything out of it.”  Maybe you’re fine with “sparing” an hour or two to help.  However once you begin doing the work and you see the instant impact that you volunteering has, It just really puts life into perspective and you really gain a tremendous of the kingdom. (Matthew 25:40)

I challenge you to really look at your kingdom year in review. The end of 2023 is fast approaching - do you like what you see? If so commit to doing even more in 2024. Do you dislike what you see? If so commit to doing even more in 2024. We don’t serve and give for our own benefit we serve and give to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), but because God is so good, every time we serve and give for his glory, he also gives to us. Whatever you’re doing consistently that helps to build the kingdom keep doing it!   If you see behaviors that don’t truly benefit the kingdom, think twice about carrying that behavior into 2024.  Each day that we live is God‘s blessing of another opportunity to honor him and praise him and serve him with our lives. (Lamentations 3:22-23) God’s desire is for all of his people to spend eternity with him in heaven (1 Timothy 2:3-4), and until our life on Earth ends, we should take the opportunities given to us to grow close to him and build his kingdom as the gift that it truly is.

We’re so thankful that at this time of year, we lean into the story of Jesus‘s birth (Matthew 1-2), the gift of redemption that God gave to this world.  The birth of Jesus ultimately leads to his crucifixion - his ultimate sacrifice for sinners like you and I. (John 19:17-30) Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice gives us an opportunity to one day spend eternity with our heavenly father. What a wonderful, wonderful gift that God has given us.

So again, take a look at your kingdom year in review. If there’s something that you don’t like, take the opportunity of a new day, a new month, a new year and do something different this time.


Tyndale House Foundation. (1996, 2004, 2015). Holy Bible, New Living Translation. Carol Stream, Illinois. All rights reserved.: Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

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