I can’t claim to be a young adult – at best I am an old millennial. I spent 14 years serving at Youth for Christ, gaining experience of working with new generations. Married with kids and my 40s approaching like a steam train, I have ticked off many of the rites of passage on offer and am now faced with the temptation of domestic bliss, settling into a rhythm of comfort and ease. However, this isn’t the call of Christ.
Graduating from Bible college 15 years ago, I was surrounded by many who wanted to change the world and go out on a limb to serve Jesus. My first days in YFC were spent around those who were more interested in sharing the gospel than in negotiating terms and conditions. The faith that filled our bones was edgy, exciting and worth giving everything for.
Fast forward to today and I find myself meeting an old friend: one who was such an encouragement to me in my early years of faith; spurring me on in my walk with Jesus. He knew what it was to have God in the centre of his life and would talk passionately about his love of the Lord. However, today’s conversation was different. He was still speaking animatedly and enthusiastically but it was not about Jesus, it was about his new patio.
I left the conversation with thoughts flooding my mind; what had happened in 15 years to see Godly eternal passion transferred to concrete gardens?! Why do I keep bumping into Christians my age who are more evangelistic about their new kitchen than they are about Jesus? How is it that there is seemingly more inspiration for life on the pages of the Ikea catalogue than in the Bible? When did everything become so safe?!
Many of my contemporaries seem consumed by home ownership, school places, nice holidays, work/life balance, and physical fitness. There’s nothing wrong with these things, but they are not the pinnacle of life. No, the true reason for our existence is spelt out by Jesus in John 10:10: “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.” Is domestic bliss really living life to the full or is it a recipe that points towards a mid-life crisis?
We need to start extending our imaginations as to what is possible – we need a gear change in Christianity, a new perspective that remembers our identity in Christ and seeks to transform his world. The pastor Malcolm Macdonald puts it this way: “We spend our lives seeking safety, ease and comfort. Yet, the Church in the New Testament ran towards sacrifice, servanthood and risk. What is our goal in life; getting our needs met, or laying our lives down?”*
Is it time we refocused our priorities?
Of course I want a nice patio, but I’d far rather be passionate about my faith. I want to be part of a generation who choose Jesus first and join him on the risky water instead of staying in the safety of the boat. Maybe we need to get dangerous knowing that he will be with us. Perhaps you’re a little distracted and have lost sight of the main thing. We need to ensure that our walk with Jesus is the light by which we see everything else. I find the chorus from a famous old hymn really inspiring:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.”
*M. Macdonald, Set Me On Fire (Oxford: Monarch Books, 2015) .7