Various Political Parties are celebrating Youth Day 2022 today. The country remembers the Soweto Uprising 46 years ago with a National Public Holiday. As a senior citizen, with my life ebbing away, it is true I do not understand all the anger, needs, frustrations and feelings of hopelessness of much of our youth today. Yet I am as concerned about the youth as most other people are. At the same time I must confess that I do not have an immediate answer for our country’s youth. I cannot wave a magic wand and … hey presto … all their issues disappear. What I do know however is that when we live in the past we will remain in the past. We need to move on.
1) Ought we to continue blaming the Jewish Nation for putting Jesus to death? Remember it was their decision led by their high priest. Pilate submitted to their insistence and handed Jesus over to Roman Military soldiers to be escorted to and slaughtered at Calvary.
Ac 2:23 This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
I want to suggest that if we do continue to blame the Jews for what they did, we would never enjoy the glorious benefits of the Cross. As long as there are obstacles blocking our vision of Calvary and Jesus’ redemptive benefits for our account we would continue living in the past. I recall a “privileged” retired principal in Kwazulu-Natal saying how angered he was that a political party was bussing “previously disadvantaged” people to the beaches over the festive season. I said to him that if he wanted to live in the past he was welcomed to do so and that he would never enjoy a new dispensation … or he needed to find another country. Naturally he was not impressed. Living in the past prevents enjoying the benefits of the future.
2) Satan has side tracked the nation. The Rainbow Nation celebrated under the reign of President Nelson Mandela has been lost! Why is this? There are many reasons and a few would be continual injustice, discrimination and prejudice coupled to the land issue causing both the previously advantaged and previously disadvantaged to remain in the past. These are legitimate reasons for anger, disappointment and a feeling of hopelessness. Yet … I want to say that the enemy of our souls has hi-jacked what started off to be beautiful, filled with potential, ruining it by using all the instruments already mentioned to remind people of the past resulting in us as a nation living in the past and not progressing towards a better future. Added to the hi-jacking of the nation by satan we need to include political frustration, State Capture and the serious lack of employment opportunities for our youth.
3) So how do we celebrate Youth Day when as a nation when we have not progressed much over the past few years? I would like to suggest a few issues that I believe could change things in our country for better and out youth. The Church needs to cater more for our youth. Many Churches have good youth programs, many don’t … and many won’t. The Church, before any other organization, including governments and political parties, has weapons powerful enough to change the tide of a country.
(a) The Church has the means of prayer. Prayer is the most powerful resource to change souls, Churches, homes, communities, businesses, etc. The problem is the Church does not pray! I want to suggest that even if two or three start a prayer meeting in a Church and ignoring all the other issues, start praying for revival they will see growth in their numbers, in their spirituality and in their Church and society.
(b) The Church has the Gospel. Arising out of the prayer meeting ought to be an evangelistic ministry within the Church and through the Church into society.
Ac 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
One of the biggest problems today is that the Church does not want the “power” the Holy Spirit provides! The word “power” comes from the Greek translated as dynamite. Unlike the dynamite that blows up and is destructive, the Spirit’s power is constructive … using the Gospel constructively to save souls and incorporating them into God’s Eternal Kingdom. The reason much of the Church do not want this power is because it will ruffle the status quo!
(c) The Church’s involvement in communities surrounding her presence.
(i) Where the Church is called to pray for souls to be saved, especially in the society where she is … the Church is called to pray for those in authority!
1Ti 2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
Did you see that? Inspired by the Spirit Paul writes … “I urge, then, first of all”. The word “urge” means to admonish. Paul is reprimanding! Christians were not praying for those in authority (the Roman Empire) over them. If they were not, they could not expect change. This is true of us today as well. How can we expect our government to have wisdom and discernment in managing the nation and especially our youth when we do not pray for them?
(ii) Where the Church is called to evangelize … too often the Church prefers to keep her membership at the same economic, educational and social standard. Jesus had people from the upper crust, the wealthy right down to the poor following Him. If He sends us to … Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth … there will be people from every economic, educational and social level being called to repent, believe and be saved. Are we as a Church doing this?
(iii) Where the Church is not to be political … she needs to demonstrate that within her community, love and acceptance are offered to all people irrespective of their ethnicity, financial status and education. The Church does not need numbers to exert power such as political parties. She does not need numbers for herself … she needs to reach numbers for the Lord Jesus.
(iv) Where the Church is not a business … she needs to use her reach to find ways to create employment opportunities for our youth. All of the above, soaked in prayer with our immediate target the youth will result in change and maybe a return to the Rainbow Nation Madiba wanted.
Our Father, our youth are not just the future of the country. They are the future of the Church too. Graciously save many souls, providing for the needs of our youth for Jesus’ Kingdom. Amen.