Our President Tim Moody considers the idea of ‘new beginnings’ as we look ahead to 2024…
During that odd time, between Christmas and New Year, when you don’t really know what day of the week it is, I had a conversation with a friend who shared with me what they were calling their “New Year’s Quest”.
I asked for clarification on this idea of a “Quest”, and they said that behind a New Year’s Resolution is often the idea that one should give up something one particularly enjoys – like chocolate or take up something they particularly disliked – like going to the gym! It had, for them (as with many others) such hugely negative connotations!
And so, rather than making New Year’s Resolutions, they were embarking on a “New Year’s Quest” – looking at the year ahead and seeing what they could chase after, what could they be more deliberately proactive in doing or involved in? And I have to say I really warmed to this idea. I like the idea of rather than looking ahead into 2024 as a year of cutting back, slimming down and breaking a sweat, what if we looked at 2024 with a glint in our eyes that said we were coming out on the front foot?
A New Year often has a New Beginnings feel to it, and it got me to thinking of how often, after an encounter with Jesus, people would be sent away with a New Beginning, a New way to be, a New way to look at life, and New opportunities.
With this in mind, I wonder if having spent a season celebrating His birth, would we ask ourselves, what New Beginning has this encounter with Jesus left me on the cusp of?
I love the story of Zacchaeus. Greedy, self-indulgent and yet curious, and off the back of an encounter with Jesus in Luke 19, we read these words;
“Look, Lord! Here and now, I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Something about that encounter with Jesus set Zacchaeus on a New path, changed his direction, and changed how he would live.
I wonder if we are willing to encounter Jesus and be open to that kind of New Beginning?
Back to my friend, their New Year’s Quest is to try all the different types of pasta there are; a quick Google told me there are upwards of 160 different types of pasta and thus to try them all would require eating pasta nearly every day this year! The Quest is now for a few extra years!
What if an encounter with Jesus left you feeling like you should pray more in 2024?
But that’s 366 days (it’s a leap year!), surely not every day?
Or would we, like Zacchaeus, let that encounter reshape our thinking, doing, and even our future?
Just 10 minutes a day during 2024 would mean you’d pray for over 60 hours in a year!
In 2024, we are looking to launch Esgyn, a new youth initiative from the BUW bringing together young people from across Wales to grow together as a generation, passionate about God and supported not only by their churches but by one another.
There are moments when Esgyn seems like a Quest too far, but, having come to faith at a summer youth camp myself, I can’t help but feel like that personal encounter with Jesus changed something within me, and I want to believe (and indeed act) with the kind of purpose, drive and enthusiasm we see in Zacchaeus when it comes to our provision for the future generations of church.
So, I wonder, as we begin a New Year, what would an encounter with Jesus be like for you? What New thing will He be doing in your life in 2024?
Rather than cutting back or doing something you dislike, what would it look like to grasp something God is calling you to do with both hands and run with it for 2024?
I pray 2024 will be a year full of joy and wonder for you as you encounter Jesus afresh and that together we might continue on our Quest to bring honour and glory to Him.
BUW President (English-Speaking Wing)