July 1, 2005

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. I Timothy 4:12

Sometimes teens can inspire us. Hilary Duff almost inspired me to see The Perfect Man. (Heather Locklear's in that movie too! I said almost. I think I'll see Batman instead.) But seriously, last week at the CYIA (Christian Youth In Action) camp, I was around the most spiritually mature bunch of teenagers I had ever met. A lot of them were home-schooled white kids (exact opposite from the no-school mostly-black kids I work with), but spiritually mature and passionate for God nevertheless.

One such teenager was a 16 or 17 year old named Sarah. The first day I was there, we played some tackle football. And this girl was like Ray Lewis. She would run across the field and tackle guys in the open field by herself. She even chased and brought down a guy who was running back an interception and I was sure he was going to take it to the house. Aside from being the defensive player of the week, she gave a testimony that really made me think. I'm going to paraphrase it best as I can remember.

It seems that just about everybody growing up in the United States has an ideal plan for his/her life. Graduate high school, go to college, get a good paying job, get married, raise a family, all while enjoying the good things in life. The basic American Dream.

What if I never achieve any of those goals? Will my life be seen as a failure? She made a point that if she became a missionary and went off to a far away land, she might not be able to go to college, or get married, or get that good paying job. After all, isn’t bringing people to Jesus worth more than any of those other goals? Granted not all are called to go to foreign lands, but as a Christian, we are all called to preach the gospel.

Do we as Americans, living in the richest and most blessed nation in the world, put achieving the American Dream above obeying God’s Great Commission? How much would you be willing to give up if it meant other souls could get to Heaven? Your job? Your house (and the 5 tv’s inside)? Your family and friends? If God told you to go, could you? (I’m talking one way ticket, not just a summer or a few weeks in Mexico. I'm not knocking short term missions, it's just that the career missionary is at a whole other level.) I always thought I would be able to say yes without hesitation, but I’m not so sure now. That’s coming from someone who is employed in a missions field of sorts. After last week, I have developed a new respect for missionaries. Pray for them.

I hope my next week at camp (7/5-7/8) may prove to be just as fun and inspiring. But first, the Norman Lau Tour's July 4th Golf Tournament, which I hope will be featuring an official steak challenge.

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