Over the years, I have had the opportunity to work with many teenagers in school and church environments. Their faith is fresh, almost effervescent, as they share how God is working in their lives. I have watched each student come into their Faith Journey carrying their backpacks full of enthusiasm, their unfolding belief in who God is and what He can do in their lives.
I have also watched as older generations try to prevent these young men and women from following the Holy Spirit into the land God has prepared for them. The older folk have had their own sorrows and want to shield the younger ones from that same feeling of failure. But we tend to forget as we get older, that these same sorrows can be the best teachers.
My son’s friend is current serving full-time in the mission field in another country, while still in high school. The young man has battled malaria more than once, fevers, hunger, lack of sleep, feelings of homesickness, and yet. He persists. He sees that his actions, his hands and feet, are changing the world one touch, one step, one task at a time. He is a world changer- because he continues to seek God’s plan before his own.
The first disciples were the same way. They were young men who were in their teenage years to early twenties, when they began following Jesus. They were energetic, excited to find someone who would change the world forever, even if they didn’t understand the eternal impact at the time.
What if someone had dissuaded Andrew and John from leaving the fishing nets that day? What if Peter had decided to stay on the shoreline? What if Matthew decided to stay behind the tax collector’s booth? What if Paul never responded to Christ on the road to Damascus?
The men, and yes, women too, who decided that following Christ was the most important choice they could make, sent ripples through time to reach us today. They were young and willing to step out in faith and believe what others thought was unbelievable. And we stand on this side of the Resurrection, saved by Grace, impacted by their struggles and victories because of Christ’s good works through them.
Who do you know who is growing in their faith? Who needs a mentor? Someone who has experienced struggles in their Faith Journey, but is still able to see the joy of serving Christ? Someone who knows sacrifices and hard decisions are worth it this side of Heaven?
Reach out to them. Take them out for coffee, lunch, have them over for an afternoon. Pour into them the time you might have needed, the wisdom, the mercy, necessary for new and growing believers. We may help encourage the next generation to impact the world one more time.
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12).