I am more convinced (or convicted) that our corporate calling is to live out our doctrinal proclamations in the presence of the generations that follow us. If there is a disconnect between our faith and young people, it exists because there is a disconnect between our proclamation and our application. In recent weeks, there has been a theme that we have taught through our children’s curriculum. That theme is that God sees great value in His creation. God sees great value in you!
The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. – Matthew 13:45-6
One way to interpret this parable is to see God in His kingdom as the merchant in search of fine pearls. In finding one of great value, he sold all that he had in order to purchase that pearl. God has been searching for you. God has pursued you from the day you were conceived. He sees you as a pearl of great value. So much so that God gave His only Son that whoever would believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. While you were still in sin, the Lord found you. He saw value in you. Christ gave His life for you for the forgiveness of your sins and that you might be adopted into God’s family. Can you see how precious you are to the Lord? This is the doctrine we proclaim to the generations that follow us.
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Matthew 10:29-31
As Jesus sent His disciples out to share the Good News, He calls them to be bold and confident because they are so highly valued. Sparrows are a ‘dime a dozen’ but God knows the whereabouts of everyone of them. Nothing happens to a sparrow that God is unaware of. The Lord is so aware of you, that the hairs on your head are numbered. Thus, there is no reason to be afraid of anything, because you are so valued. We proclaim that “His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me”. But do the generations that follow us see in us a fearless, worry-free existence that is the application of our doctrine?
In this calendar year, God has allowed a disruption to shake our lives and our world. We are given an opportunity to live out our faith in the midst of chaotic and ever-changing circumstances. But are we embracing the opportunity to live out our faith? Are we living discouraged and praying for rescue? Are we hanging on in the hope of the return of some form of normal? Are we looking to the East for the return of Christ to bring a new heaven and a new earth, simply waiting out the last days? Are we in panic over an election, believing government to be our salvation? Or do we believe that God values us and has us right where we need to be, in order to show the Way, the Truth and the Life? Are we living out our belief that we are chosen for such a time as this?
The generations that follow you need to see your doctrines lived out in the face of the unprecedented times in which we live. Young people need to see your joy, your peace and your love in the face of daily conundrums. Youth need to see people who know that they are a valuable pearl, see disciples who live the knowledge that God knows, God cares, God can, and God will, see followers who will follow fearlessly into uncharted waters with the assurance that they are of much more value than the sparrow.
What an honor to be chosen as God’s representatives in the year 2020! What incredible opportunities we have to be encouragement, hope and love – at an hour when such light has dimmed. Let us not live as though God has abandoned us. Let us run into the fray of each day knowing we are loved by God, resourced by God, chosen by God, and are made to bring God’s glory to our community. As I have taught our youth recently, when you rise and look in the mirror to start the day, say to yourself, “You’re a pearl baby!” Then embrace the challenges of every day with passion, knowing that the Creator has your back and is in control.