Monday, March 14, 2016

What Happened to that Youthful Zeal?

When I was a university student, I often found myself a little overwhelmed by the youthful passion of some of my Christian peers. Maybe it was because I was a new Christian and still figuring out what it meant to live for Christ? Maybe it was a personality thing? There was certainly a vibe around the Christian Union that if your faith was sincere, the way to show it was to go into full-time ministry, whether it was studying at Bible college, doing a ministry traineeship, or missionary service overseas.  It seemed that I was the only one who didn't have these plans.

Fast forward 12 years since I graduated from uni......some of those people have become full-time paid  gospel workers, or at least did for some of that time. But many others have gone into secular employment, married and had children, and live fairly ordinary lives in suburbia. When we were in our late teens and early twenties, it seemed like we had so much energy. So many Christian young adults volunteered repeatedly on camps, mission trips, and for church activities. Why weren't people with kids doing as much 'stuff' as us? Why did they seem so tired? Where was their passion for Christ?

In the past 12 years I've watched some of those young adults experience health issues such as depression, arthritis, heart conditions, miscarriage, infertility, and various injuries. They've lost loved ones, dealt with loneliness, experienced financial hardship, conflict in relationships, and faced the everyday grind of parenting. I've experienced some of the same. We're older and tireder.

So, why do some Christian young adults end up going in different directions from what they had intended at uni? Does the fact that some didn't end up in full-time paid ministry mean Satan has had a victory? Have the weeds of life grown up and choked their fruitfulness?

The answer is that life happened. Life is painful. Life is hard. Our bodies face decay in this world. Once you leave the university environment it becomes painfully clear HOW MANY people need Christ.

But although outwardly we may be wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. I've seen that in my peers. The zeal is still there, but it's now coupled with wisdom, which comes from age and experience. The rose-coloured glasses have been removed. They witness in their families, their workplaces, in their children's schools.

They are still Christian and God is using them. I praise the Lord for that.

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