Life is a series of commitments, whether you realize it or not. We have family commitments, work commitments, financial commitments, religious commitments, school commitments and commitments to our selfishness. (oh, yes, I did) Even so, many people have a hard time committing to what actually matters.
For example, in student ministry these things could drive a person crazy, if you let them. A weekend comes and friends call to set up activities. “Hey, want to go see the new movie with me.” Without hesitation the answer is, “yes.” But, when some sort of service project comes along or an opportunity to do something that will spur them along in their relationship with God, you get the “well, I don’t have time” or “I need to check” response.
The truth is that we are all busy people. But, even when I am busy I can still find the time to do the things I want to do. I still find time to watch a football game when I am busy. I find time to play with my kids or watch a tv show with them. My point is that we probably aren’t as busy as we say we are. Busyness probably becomes a bit of an excuse more than a real hinderance. I believe it comes down to what you are actually committed to.
This was one of the themes from our recent retreat. The speaker talked about how the way we live our life speaks to what we are committed to. He used popularity as one specific example of that. I know I never had this problem because I was never popular. Many of my youth group students are cooler than I ever was, so it is a relevant topic. Many students go through a time when they are directed by their friends, good or bad. In fact the quote was, “Your friends are like elevators, they will either take you up or take you down.” There is a lot of truth to that. Whatever is popular in the school, is what they will do. How else can you explain things like slap bracelets, giga pets, or the Jonas brothers? Another quote that resonated with our group this weekend was, “you can be popular, or you can be great, but you can’t be great and popular.”
There is a significance in understanding what your life is to be about. That gets lost sometimes in the pressure to conform to an image that the world dictates. It is automatically assumed and taught that teenagers need to do drugs, rebel and just be on the fringe of society. Yet, there are teenagers all over the country doing amazing things because they choose to stand up to the status quo and make something of their lives. You don’t have to let someone else decide what direction your life takes.
Thankfully adults have this all figured out. Or, wait, maybe not. So much time is spent trying to obtain and then retain a certain image, but is that who you really are? When all is stripped away and it is just you, is that really what you find value in? People do some pretty crazy things in order to be popular. The problem is that popularity is fleeting. Popularity doesn’t change lives for the better. It just makes you financially, relationally and spiritually broke. Popularity is what you should be committed to? Really? Trying to impress your family or friends is not a valuable commitment to make.
A better commitment in life is to recognize that you have a purpose that is not in the things of this world, but in the creator of the world. This is a life that screams devotion to God and declares that you are not going to be changed by the world; you are going to be a voice of change in the world. The burden for me is to get teenagers and adults committed to something meaningful, namely Jesus Christ. We need to stop playing games and seriously choose to follow Jesus Christ without reservation. If your friends walk away from you, you will be in good company. Jesus Christ was abandoned as well.
“Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.” Proverbs 9:6
“The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.” Proverbs 11:6
“Do not conform any long to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2