The media's year in review for 2003 is missing something. The passing of famous entertainers such as Bob Hope, Johnny Cash and Katherine Hepburn was noted, as were others for achievements both highly regarded and dubious. Scott Peterson is charged with taking the life of his wife and unborn son. The media floods us with this sad saga. Bad news is smart money.
Elizabeth Smart was snatched from her home and remained missing for 10 months. Remarkably, she was reunited with her grateful family.
On April 9, Baghdad was captured. Hours before, the Iraqi information minister bragged that "We besieged them and we killed most of them. We will finish them soon. Those invaders, their tombs will be here in Iraq!"
Entertainment celebrities always make the news. In June, Martha Stewart was indicted on charges of insider trading. In July, NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant was charged with sexual assault in Colorado. Viewers may be tiring of these worn stories.
The guerrilla war in Iraq began and continues to this day. Saddam's sons died ignominiously with guns blazing.
In August, New York City experienced a massive blackout. A computer glitch left 50 million in the dark from the East to the Midwest and Canada.
Californians recalled their governor and replaced him with a popular movie actor. Meanwhile, widespread forest fires tore through the golden state.
Michael Jackson was booked on charges of child molestation in California. He posted $3 million bail to maintain his freedom.
American sniper John Allen Muhammad was brought to trial and sentenced to die. One month later, his partner in terror, Lee Boyd Malvo, was sentenced to life in prison.
Perhaps the most astounding single event of the year was the capture of Saddam Hussein. He was found cowering in a filthy dirt hole, "protecting" his people from "the infidels."
Many worldly events and personalities made the news throughout 2003. But is something missing here?
Where do you find God and the Bible mentioned in the year in review? Where are the people of God mentioned, the same ones who have dedicated their lives so others could enjoy spiritual peace, prosperity and freedom?
The media never made a peep about the greatest work on earth, the same work that Jesus began while He was on earth: "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work" (John 9:4).
During 2003, the United Church of God, comparatively a small church, spent countless hours praying for God's Kingdom to come, freely gave tithes and offerings for the advancement of Christ's liberating gospel and presented themselves as Christian lights to a troubled and dying world. They sent out nearly three million Good News magazines free of charge to knowledge-hungry subscribers. Hundreds of thousands of other publications, in several languages, were mailed free to any who requested them.
How many politicians and educators took notice? When did the media show these good works, all done during 2003? You will not find them mentioned in the media's year in review.
For those who notice, for those who care, God had a banner year in 2003! The United Church of God was one dedicated group that God worked through for the benefit of humanity.
Would you like to be involved in sharing God's inspiring gospel truths? You can. Christ said: "Freely you have received; freely give" (Matthew 10:8).
In God's eyes, the year 2003 was a banner year because of an unheralded few who gave much to many, without media recognition. Christ's true disciples serve others without reservation, expecting nothing in return.
Jesus Christ tells us that fields of human beings are ripe for harvesting: "Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together" (John 4:35-36). His marching orders are clear: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations." (Matthew 28:19).
For those involved in this effort, the media may not take notice of those good works—but God certainly will! And you can become a part of God's banner year in 2004, and throughout eternity.