Caleb has brought up some great points in the comments and I thought they deserved to be put up front. It’s actually perfect timing because I’m working on a post right now for the next section of Mark 10 which deals with the Rich Young Ruler and, frankly, its kicking my rear.
So I pardon me while I chase this rabbit in the hopes that we can add something to our discussion of Mark 10 courtesy of this young man who so eagerly wants to serve the Lord.
I know next to nothing about Presbyterian polity here, so I’m not going to address any of those issues. I am, however, an expert at being young and having more desire and energy to serve the Lord than knowledge and experience. It’s not an easy place to be and I feel for young folks in this position because it’s a tough spot. OK, as I said in the comments section, it sucks ‘catastrophically’. Perhaps that’s a bit harsh because most of the problems I had early on in attempting ministry were due to some humongous misunderstandings on my part. Apply said youthful enthusiasm to those misunderstandings and it makes for a pretty huge lever with which you could derail anything—even a life.
No I’m not overstating the problem here. Bear with me.
First let me commend you on your studying. Keep it up. I always loved to study God’s Word but I was never that disciplined about it. Mistake number one: taking my nose out of the Bible. If I could do one thing over again it would be setting up a bible study regimen and sticking to it. This might sound corny but the best possible thing you can do at any age is to stay in the Word of God, you know, while your brain still works at full-speed. I recall studying at 20ish is a lot easier than it is now. (20 was a long time ago, I’d rather not talk about it)
Which brings us to number two. Man at 17 you’ve got so much energy that you can do whatever you want at full-speed. You can haul groceries for little old widow ladies and cut their grass and cut brush for Jesus. There are all kinds of things you can do like all day long at 17 and bound right out of bed in the morning. Your pastor and the other folks you serve with? They’d crawl to the ibuprophen bottle swallow a handfull with a cup of coffee and lie in the floor until it took effect. Trust me, I’ve been there–recently.
You didn’t mention what ‘your ministry’ is, but if you want to preach your pastor might be right. There are some things 35 year olds know that 17 year olds can’t know and that just sucks. But I’ll tell you what, if you can get to the point where you’re worshiping the Living Christ by cleaning out gutters for a cranky ungrateful octogenarian, you’re on your way.
Thirdly, and this has nothing to do with anything really, you know ‘ol Douglas Adams was a raving athiest who’s primary pleasures in life consisted of mocking God in his writing and good whiskey? I mean he was funny, “So this is it then…we’re going to die” but he was a jerk…a complete knee-biter and yes he deserved to be called it twice.
Fourth for context let me just share with you and the rest of the world that the second guy I used to know in my post ‘I used to know this guy…’ that was me. Don’t be like me. Be like the first guy. I actually knew him too and he was a dynamo. Get your act together and quit moping about what you can’t do—which I did for a LONG time—and do what you can with what you have. That is what we are called to do. That’s what pleases the Lord (see the talents). Don’t live in the future, live today and serve God today while you’re 17 and full of that delightful energy that comes at the beginning of life. Because I’ll tell you what little brother it’s a whole lot different at…well anyway.
Now if it was me and I was sitting there reading this at age 17 I’d probably be a little ticked. Don’t be. These things are true. If you’re my age and you’re reading this, how about a little encouragement for the young people you know today, especially if they so greatly desire to serve the Lord that they’ll throw down and argue with the elders they are supposed to respect to do it.
But…don’t be so ticked that you miss the next post about the ‘Rich Young Ruler’. It’s pretty humbling stuff.
Oh, and consider this a prayer request for all those young folks too. We’re leaving them a nasty, nasty world in which to live.