The Hebrew concept of “shalom” is not simply defined. Used mostly as a greeting or a farewell, it has come to be understood as “peace,” but it goes much deeper than simply wishing someone peace.
To experience shalom means to be in harmony with oneself, with others, and with nature. It is to be whole, complete, and fully satisfied. Someone living in shalom is balanced in all areas of life, completely fulfilled and at peace.
Only in Christ can we find true shalom. Isaiah prophesied about Jesus, saying he would be the “wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the prince of ‘shalom.’” In him we find peace. In him we are content. In him we are complete. He is our balance. But most of us admit that, though we are in constant search for shalom, we rarely possess it. If we are not experiencing shalom, we need to immerse ourselves more deeply in Jesus.
Kingdom workers are not very good at shalom. We live in cultures different from our own, speak languages not native to us, worry about our financial support, and are constantly bombarded by the needs around us. We tend to define ourselves by the results of our ministry. If anyone needs the gospel of shalom, it is those who are in full-time ministry, and especially those who do it cross-culturally!
Whatever your goals for 2018 may be, consider adding this one: commit to pursue shalom in your life, and to give shalom to those you meet each day. Take a step deeper into your walk with Jesus. Go beyond where your feet can touch and let him keep you afloat.