“What do I have to do to get this?”
A question people commonly ask themselves, particularly around this time of year when new goals and resolutions are being set. It is all about making sure that we do better so that we can also receive the benefit after the hard work.
The whole idea of New Year’s resolution had transformed greatly over time but the earliest known form of this was during the time of the state of Babylonia. When the time was right to plant their crops, people would confirm their dedication to their gods during religious festivals. Babylonians would make sure that they repaid the gods anything that they owed in an effort to remain in their favour.
While this is much different to the contemporary understanding of New Year’s resolutions, much of the same mentality remains. People often put in great efforts to ensure that they will be able to live their ideal life for the next year.
I feel that writing about New Year’s resolutions is quite cliché, especially since the idea of rejecting the idea of it is also becoming just as popular. However, coming into the much-anticipated 2021 did leave me with some interesting thoughts.
What would you do with one day?
Events unfolded during 2020 that nobody expected. Many people have wanted to simply forget about the last year and focus on all of the time that they have in 2021 to improve whatever they can. With an entire year ahead, there is so much that can be done. But what if we only had a day? One day with which you could do whatever you wanted to. No limitations holding you from doing whatever you wanted to do to make your life on earth ‘worth it.’
Of course, we do not know when this last day on earth will be, but I know someone who did. Someone who knew what the days to come would look like. Someone who had the ability to do whatever was imaginable and more. Jesus was this man.
Jesus knew the plan that God had for His life on earth. He told His disciples that He would have to leave this earth and He knew when the hour for this had come. Knowing this, Jesus washed people’s feet. Some might see this as completely unfathomable; why would anyone choose to spend the last day of their life washing feet?
It was through experiencing the unconditional love and grace of God and trusting in Him, that Jesus was willing to spend His days doing what many would call the ‘lowest of low’. The world blurs our perception of why we live on earth. Yes, we are also sinners, but knowing the God-given calling on your life allows you to live sacrificially and generously; in a way that the world does not encourage.
What are we spending our days doing? As children of God, we are the best versions of ourselves when we are living in the likeness of Christ. Throughout His life on earth, Jesus continually demonstrated what sacrificial living meant and looked like; having dinner with those who society considered as unforgivable, healing people that may not felt like they deserved it. It is these things that raises questions and fascinates people because they are so counter-cultural.
What are you doing that makes people wonder?
One example in my life, is volunteering during schoolies week. Spending a week or more with thousands of school-leavers is not something that everybody gets to experience. What makes this opportunity particularly unique is making pancakes at 4am, doing the same card trick dozens of times every day, having Taylor Swift karaoke sessions at midnight and holding kids’ heads over the toilet for 45 minutes while they are sick (true story).
It kind of does not make any sense that people would do this voluntarily. Schoolies often ask us; why do you guys come and help us when we are complete strangers to you?
We love because Christ first loved us. In our own strength, we do not have the capacity to love or to serve like this. But through relationship with Him and having experienced the grace of God, we know that our life is for more than ourselves. We are created to love God and love others.
Jesus did not give to then receive anything in return. He completely changed history by giving His life so that people like you and I would have the chance to know God personally.
Be counter-cultural in the way that you live. Not by setting resolutions just so that you gain, but by living sacrificially to serve God and the people around you.
Challenges will definitely come. We have seen in the last year how unexpected they can be. To quote Romans chapter 8 verse 31, “what, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
What are you doing each day that requires faith? That makes you uncomfortable? It is in these places that our faith is stretched and we learn to put our full trust in God. Be all in.
Brittany Geoghegan is in her final year of International Studies at the University of Queensland. Brittany continues to explore her love for the people and places that God has made. While Brittany has always been a fitness enthusiast, she is excited for the opportunity to write as part of her creative endeavours.