This past weekend, I was blessed to be able to spend 3 days with a great group of folks, from 15 years old and up. It's called Chrysalis, and is the youth version of The Walk to Emmaus. For 72 hours, we were focused on reminding the youth coming to us that God loves them regardless...
It's a beautiful thing to watch, actually. Saturday morning, the youth show up and some are absolutely terrified. Some want to be anywhere but there. Some are actually looking forward to it. But by the end of the 72 hours, very nearly all of them have realized that they are the beloved of God.
At the closing service, they get a chance to stand up and tell what the weekend meant to them. Then...the big question: "What are you going to do with it?" I love that.
I never cease to be amazed by the junk that some of these youth bring with them, and not just the youth that come for the first time, but also the youth that have come back to be a part of the team. Some learn for the first time what it means to be the beloved, regardless of the mistakes they might have made already. Some are simply reminded. What amazes me even more, I think, are the answers that some of them give.
"What are you going to do with it?" What do we do with the fact that we are the beloved? For me, that is what it boils down to. I'm not into works righteousness at all, you know, where you do good for each other to earn God's love. I just don't think that's how it works. I believe, and I preach, that we do what we do as a response to the love that God has already shown us. What we don't do often enough, is intentionally stop and ask ourselves the question, "What are you going to do with it?"
It's not enough to soak up the love of God. That is one part of it, yes, but only one part. We are then called to go and do something with it. For a lot of the kids that stand up and answer that question, with beads of nervous sweat popping out on their foreheads, the answer is something like this, "I'm going to go back to school and tell the other kids that God loves them too." Isn't that beautiful? And we say we don't send out missionaries anymore.
So, beloved of God, what are you going to do with it? Can you dial a phone? Give someone who may be having a rough day a call. Can you type? Shoot someone an email. Can you cook? Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen (and no, you won't have to travel very far to find one). Can you fold clothes? Practically every county, locally, has a mission store, and they could all use a little extra help. Can you garden? Teach someone how to grow their own food. Can you drive nails? Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
The point is, for 72 hours this past weekend, 57 young people were told over and over again that they are the beloved of God, and when the weekend was over, they wanted to get back to where they came from and start getting MAD (Making A Difference). What are you going to do with it?