Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,
I want to speak to our youth and young adults this week. Let me begin with a true story:
“Pastor, if I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I raise it?”
Thirteen year-old Steve attended church every week with his parents, and he stayed after church to get an answer from his pastor.
The pastor replied, “Yes, God knows everything.”
Steve, who was especially troubled by children who were starving in Africa, then pulled out a Life magazine cover depicting hungry African children to ask the logical follow-up, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?” The pastor gave a similar response: “Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”
Would you be inspired by that answer?
Steve wasn’t. In fact, he walked out that day and never returned to a Christian church again. Maybe you’ve heard of Steve. His last name is Jobs.
The young Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., was a churchgoing junior high student who had doubts about faith.
I don’t want to be a pastor who failed the youth and young adults in his church. No parent wants their children to leave their faith and their church like Steve Jobs did. Wrestling with doubts can actually strengthen one’s faith. But pastors, elders, counselors, and parents alone cannot prevent young people from abandoning their faith and church.
Our youth and young adults are themselves the most important factors for sustaining the faith of their peers. So as I congratulate all of you who will graduate or be promoted, I would like to remind you of this important truth:
Your greatest achievement is helping your class (and peers) become faithful followers of Jesus.
You may do well in everything else in life. You may win the praise of parents, family, and community for all your accomplishments. But I believe that your greatest satisfaction will come from knowing that you’ve done all you can to encourage your peers to be disciples. You see, as disciples, you and your peers will make the most positive impact on the world. The most meaningful and rich life is one that is given to God’s purpose. How can that not bring satisfaction?
Some of you who are graduating will look back and confess that you’ve not done much to build up Canaan’s youth ministry or your campus ministry. Don’t feel guilty. Graduation is a good time to commit to your peers’ faith in the future.
For those of you who have been active and consistent participants in church or campus ministries, I thank you. I believe that the skills you’ve gained as leaders and committed volunteers will help you even more than your academic knowledge. But most importantly, by desiring to help others to gain and grow faith, you are on your way to an adventurous life journey of faith!
Finally, to everyone else who is young, follow the examples of our young people who are setting the right example of consistency, commitment, and care. May Paul’s words to his protégée, Timothy, encourage you:
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)
We will celebrate God’s goodness to you by honoring our graduating students this Sunday. I hope to see all our young people there!
Be a blessing!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: Ph.D.
Pastor of English Ministries