It is easy to bemoan the current state of the youth. In fact, there is not a time or culture in history where we do not find records of complaints about the condition of the next generation. In 1904 Kenneth Freeman summarized Socrates’ view of the youth by writing that, “The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.” Unfortunately, if you look at teenagers today, this evaluation sounds all too contemporary and fitting.
During a recent discussion, a friend of mine was grumbling about the current state of our culture and how it is probably too late for us to change the prevailing tide of the moral revolution. I made a comment about how it is up to the next generation to fix our mistakes, to which my friend replied that, “If it is up to the next generation, then I am really worried!” He agreed with Socrates’ evaluation and does not see much hope for the future.
A few months ago I would have agreed with Socrates and my friend. However, much like Israel in exile, I believe there remains a faithful remnant; a core of young leaders who will make a much larger impact for the Kingdom of God on our culture than we think possible.
What gives me hope for this is seeing the CLA high school students in action. Over the last year I have been blown away, as a Bible teacher, by the quality and depth of our classroom conversations. These students are taking seriously the issues and truths confronted in Scripture and applying it in their lives.
One of the most beautiful manifestations of this is seen in how these students serve. They have taken passages like Mark 9:35 and Galatians 5:13 to heart. They have a growing love for God and it has resulted in an unselfish and self-sacrificing love for others. They are seeking out opportunities to help in the classroom, wiping down tables and vacuuming floors, while enthusiastically helping in the community. Recently I announced a service day to which many of the students cheered and gave fist pumps. Then, they went on to work, some tasks being tedious, without a word of complaint. To the contrary, they performed their duties with incredible joy! Laughter and smiles were seen all through the day.
It is obvious that many things are going wrong in the world but there is hope. God is at work in today’s youth. Simply look at the way our student’s love for God is already leading to a significant impact for His kingdom.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14