The God Thing
[ Extracted and edited from D2Y2 Magazine, March – May 2005, Issue 2 ]
Matthew 19:16 “Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’. So He said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is God…’”
There are some amazing principles that we as youth workers can glean from the encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler. I would like to highlight just two of them in this article.
Firstly, the young man asked about the good thing that he should do to have eternal life and then, after Jesus had explained, the young man answered that he had kept all the commandments since his youth.
Judging from this young man’s response, I can only presume that he must have had very good upbringing. I believe that a successful youth ministry is where young people are taught to do the “good thing”. This is an important role of any youth ministry if we want to see our young people succeed in life i.e. do the good thing, live the good life.
If only life is so simple, youth ministry would be a breeze. But it is not, simply because God intended life to be more than just good and comfortable. We will never truly be satisfied with the “good things”, simply because we long to encounter and experience, what I would like to call, “the God thing”.
I believe that this was the very thing that made the young man cried out, “What do I still lack?”, even after he had done everything that was good. It stands to reason therefore, dear parent, pastor and/or teacher, that no matter how much values (and valuables) the rich young ruler inherited, there came a time in his life when all these things were insufficient to fill the God-shaped void in his life.
In fact, the Lord’s answer to him was that if he desired to be perfect i.e. more than just having a good future (which every parent and youth pastor would want for their kids), he should :
Go sell what you have i.e. be willing to give up and let go even the good for God’s best.
Give to the poor i.e. look outward beyond yourself and realise that there are people around you who have needs that you can meet. By meeting these needs, you can save both them as well as yourself.
Follow Me i.e. life is not found in a religious rule book nor in family traditions, but in a radical and responsive relationship with the Giver of Life.
A truly successful youth ministry happens only when both parents (including pastors, teachers etc.) and youth alike learn to let go and let God. The miracle of perfection or completeness in youth ministry happens, not only when all the good things are done, but when the God thing begins.
D2Y2, which stands for Don’t Despise Your Youth, was an official Asian Youth Ambassador (AYA) magazine birthed out in the late 90s. The printed materials communicated dynamic and effective encouragement to and from the Church, with special emphasis on the knowledge and experiences of our Christian youths, which we believe the content is still relevant and applicable in this current generation.