A new year was ushered in at midnight on New Year’s Eve with resounding shouts! As we turn the calendar to a new year, we can reflect on what it will bring.
Other than the date, what’s “new” about this year? What has changed? The world is still in turmoil, and our country is bitterly divided. Evil, hurt, sickness and poverty are all around us.
If there’s nothing new in the world around us, maybe we need to be “new”. Instead of heading into this new year in the same old way, maybe we need to take a look at our heart attitudes and see what we can make better.
We can’t change all the anger and negativity in the world, but we can choose how we react to it. We can’t fix all the problems, but we can let the Lord show us where we can help.
In His Steps
Many years ago, early in my Christian walk, I came across a book that really touched me. The book was “In His Steps” by Charles Sheldon, written in 1896. Rev. Sheldon decided to write a story for his Sunday night services, one chapter a week to read at his Sunday night services, about people who applied “What Would Jesus Do?” to their lives. People were hooked and he was soon preaching to a packed crowd. The story was later printed and sold 100,000 copies in just a few weeks.
The full title of this classic is In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?. It is a novel about a pastor who challenges his church not to do anything without first asking “What would Jesus do?” As each person begins to do this, it starts shaking up not only their lives but the environment of the town they live in. Ultimately, the movement begins to spread to other cities and states.
Almost a century later, in the 1990s, the “WWJD” movement returned with a bang! Janie Tinklenberg read Sheldon’s book in 1989 and took the message of “What would Jesus do?” to heart. She decided to use it in her job as a youth leader at a church in Holland, Michigan where she encouraged her students to keep it in mind as they went about their daily lives.
As a way to make sure the kids didn’t forget, Janie decided to emblazon the slogan on something wearable, settling on wristbands and used the abbreviation W.W.J.D. This was ingenious because it sparked interest and often prompted people to ask what “W.W.J.D” meant, spreading the message a little further.
Yes, In His Steps was written in 1896, but we are still dealing with the same problems today. There are still people without jobs, still crime, still drugs and alcohol, suicides, anger, and souls that are lost. Actually, things are worse now than they were back then.
I can’t help but wonder what would happen in our country if all who claim to be Christians asked themselves the question “What would Jesus do?” and start to act as Jesus would act?
The Lord has blessed us with another year. Let’s make this time count! I know we can’t change the world, but we can make an impact in our small corner of it.
As Charles Sheldon’s character says, “What is it to be a Christian? It is to imitate Jesus. It is to do as He would do. It is to walk in His steps.”
Remember…What Would Jesus Do?? Let this be a challenge to each of us. I’m going to give it a go. Who’s with me???
“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us,
leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”
1 Peter 2:21 KJV
FYI – The book, In His Steps, is available as a free download on Kindle.
Sheldon, Charles. (1897) In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?
Wikipedia contributors. “What would Jesus do?.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 17 December 2019
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