Now that 2010 is more than a full month behind us, we can look back with a bit of perspective on what some of the last year’s events taught (or reminded) us:
Haiti: When one part of the Body hurts, the whole Body hurts. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake brought $750 million in aid within five weeks of the disaster. That was the up side. A down side, in addition to the human tragedy, was what the earthquake revealed about amateur aid as the world focused on missionary efforts to relocate thirty-three children in the Dominican Republic.
Cape Town: The Church is not synonymous with “the West.” Christ-following leaders from across the globe gathered to talk about men and women partnering in ministry, to discuss mission strategies, to pray for unity, and to embrace the global diversity of the Body of Christ.
The Gulf of Mexico: The earth is the Lord’s. No matter where we fall in the debate about global warming, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill reminded us that God gave humans dominion over the earth, including care for the fish of the sea (Gen. 1:28). Gulp.
Florida: Book burnings are for converts. Small-church pastor Terry Jones created a worldwide stir when he threatened to burn a Qur’an. Talk about your misdirected zeal. Paul and his friends didn’t hunt down magicians in Ephesus and burn their books. The writer of Acts tells us, “A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly” (Acts 19:19). Voluntary is better. Way better.
Arizona: God loves widows, orphans, and resident aliens. Regardless of where we stand in the debate about illegal immigration, God has a heart for displaced and migrating people. Abraham and Sarah, Joseph, Ruth, Daniel, Naomi, and Esther come to mind.
Western Russia/U.S. Congress: Power shifts. Remember that pivotal statement, “Another king arose who knew not Joseph” (Exodus 1:8; Acts 7:18)? Think of the U.S.’s mid-term power shift. Or the plane crash that took the lives of Polish President Lech Kaczynski and about a hundred high-ranking Polish military and civilian leaders. Only one government will last forever.
Chile: Life is sacred. Remember the miner miracle? Oh, the value of one human, created in the image of God!
New Orleans: The last shall be first. Perhaps this is why we love an underdog so much. Drew Brees went from being a has-been football player to the champion quarterback of last year’s Super Bowl. Brees went on to be an outspoken witness for Christ (as did Josh Hamilton of the formerly struggling Texas Rangers).
Worldwide: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth where…thieves break through and steal” (Matt. 6:19). Think Wikileaks, economy busts, and monetary bailouts.
South Africa: Language changes. That’s why the Church will always need Bible translators. From the World Cup we learned “vuvuzela” (colorful plastic horn). Other popular words new to our vocabs included “staycation” (staying home to save cash) and “unfriend” (deleting someone as a friend on social media; defriend in the UK).
Now we’re on to the new year, which marks the 400th anniversary of the KJV, translated when “quick” meant living, and “conversation” meant behavior. 2011 has already brought us dramatic shifts of power in Egypt and beyond. Will you spend your days investing in what endures?