How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. -Psalm 119:9-11 (NKJV)
Last Sunday during a recognition of our Sr. adults, a man in our church gave a testimony of how a number of people in the congregation have positively influenced him over the years. He began to name the people who helped shape his life and he publically thanked them for taking the time to be a godly influence on him. This caused me to reflect on all those who have had a similar impact on me, especially during my youth. Were I to begin naming them here the list would include many. Many of them are still living and others have gone to be with the Lord. I recall their love, patience, testimony, and willingness to help shape the values and faith I hold to even today.
I recall a Sunday school teacher named Jim who taught my seventh grade class. Jim not only taught our class, but he also invested himself in us. On one occasion he took several of us on a camping trip. We camped in tents, roasted hotdogs and marshmallows over a fire, and hiked through the woods. One of the boys became sick in the middle of the night (probably from too many hotdogs), so Jim loaded us all in his old station wagon, drove the boy home, and then we all went back and finished the trip. There was another Sunday school teacher named John who used to take me and the boys in the class roller skating. Afterwards we would stop at an ice cream shop. Those are indeed fond memories.
Consider what was being taught to me during this period. This wasn’t just about camping and roller skating. This was about instilling in impressionable young boys valuable lessons about God’s Word and how it applies to our lives. I didn’t fully comprehend it then, yet I understand it now. These men desired to show us the love of Jesus Christ by shining His light from their lives. Men like Jim and John and many others were willing to go the extra mile to show a group of teenage boys how Jesus loved them and had a viable plan for their lives. I am still benefiting from the lessons they taught.
We look around today and we see a scarcity of positive influence on today’s youth. In a world where ungodliness and immorality are rampant the youth of today need to see the light of Jesus Christ. Will we take time to reach out in His name? If we reach just one young person for Jesus we have reached many, for the one will go and reach others.
Pray for the youth among us, and thank the Lord for those who have positively affected you.