Above and Beyond the Call

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”    ~ 1 Timothy 4:12

This past week, I had the great privilege of helping out with a local church’s VBS program. There were people and friends that I knew were helping out but what I didn’t know is that it was entirely run by the teens. Because I was a late signup, I wasn’t a counselor with a group…just an extra counselor and photographer. I was amazed at the ability of these teens. Every single day they came, a little more tired than the day before, but exerting every ounce of energy to reach the kids that came. I saw firsthand, sacrificial love. Just like every group, there were a couple very energetic kids and a couple who weren’t. The counselors were patient with both. Above all, I saw the counselors getting involved with the kids, diving into every activity with them, pulling them out of their shells, and helping kids shine in their own way. They didn’t do it because they had to, but because they wanted to.

Within the staff, I saw encouragement, genuine fun, and an unspoken bond founded on their love for the Lord, for the kids, and for each other. Every afternoon, after the kids had left, they had a team meeting. It was a time to reflect on the day which meant rejoicing in something, or asking for help, or suggesting new ideas, or just a time to lean on each other’s strength. This group worked together with complete abandon. I never heard them tear another down and they didn’t exclude other people. They worked as one body, united by the common goal of pouring love on the kids and sharing the love of Christ.

As I mentioned before, I was amazed at the fact the teens ran the program. There were adults present but it was the teens who made the plans, made out the schedule, and taught the kids. It sounds like great fun but let me put this in perspective: the program required people to be ready to help set up by around 7:30 a.m. every morning for one week (during summer!), be creative in planning the activities (such as obstacle courses, etc.), planning out lessons for the morning, taking care of a group of anywhere from 6-12 kids from age 4 to 11, and cleaning up after everyone had left. Now, that list did not include the preparation before the program even started or the little things within such as planning out worship and snack, etc. These teens are an example of true service. They went beyond themselves to reach out.

We need our generation to rise up like these teens did. Our culture has placed anyone under 18 in this idea that they are just a kid and can’t do anything. Who needs to be considered an adult or have a degree to lend a helping hand or reach out to their community?  Kids and teens have the ability to impact a person or the world if only they would prove wrong the idea that they can’t do anything. On the other hand, we have become too lazy to try. We depend on other people saying that they are doing it so why do they need us. And yet, we talk about how there needs to be change, or that people need to be told of the love of Christ, or that a person needs help. We have no right to say anything unless we are willing to do it ourselves. If we sit and depend on the few that are pouring themselves into ministry then we are, in our own way, hypocrites. In the end, the world will fall faster and the few left standing are going to burn out or are going to be crushed.

I challenge you to go beyond yourself and do something for the better of a person, the community, or the world. Don’t let someone say you can’t just because you’re young. Instead, pour yourself out so much they say you can’t do it alone.

~ related book, Do Hard Things by Brett & Alex Harris

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