We have a great group of teenagers here in Durango who meet every Monday night to talk Bible. We don't do worship. We don't have any games planned. We meet at a coffee shop after hours, and just open the Bible to conversation.
We've been going through Ephesians this semester, and we got to the part about submitting to one another in chapter 6. At the end of a long section of chapter 5 to chapter 6 Paul writes, " Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free."
The question on the table this last Monday was, "How can you serve others?"
How can you serve each other?
How can you serve your parents?
How can you serve your boss?
How can you serve your employees?
What does it really mean to submit to each other like Paul asks of us?
It was AMAZING.
The conversation started with trite answers, but quickly got to a place where the students were trying to figure out how to function in relationships with people they don't get along with.
"I'll just de-friend them on facebook and then I don't have to deal with them." one student answered.
"I'll just text, and then I don't have to see them or talk with them." another piped in.
"If you just avoid the people that are hard to get along with, then you don't have anything to worry about."
AND THAT SEALED IT!
I'm working on my 4th book with NavPress, and the central theme is how students have developed friendships through modern technology, and are living life all ALONE!
It's the biggest problem I see this generation is dealing with.
All their relationships are based on good times.
They don't have to deal with rejection.
They fear letting someone else down.
They live in a world where they serve up only the good parts of themselves.
And consequently, they live in a sterile world.
It's EASY to submit to people you get along with.
It's EASY to try and create false worlds where everything goes right.
But what about the times you have to work to make it?
What about the times you learn the times you disappoint others?
How can you really be human and live in a world where conflict is non-existent?
One of the greatest parts about doing ministry full time is the ability to help imperfect people see the imperfection of the world. We get a chance to sit around the table and share our imperfections, and we learn to rely on each other. We see the benefits of leaning on each other in areas of weakness.
If you really want to live a life with people, you have to take a chance, and work out the imperfection.
As one counselor told me, "You can live a sterile life, but the consequence is, you'll die all alone."
People need people, not machines.
Be careful your life isn't all about who wrote on your facebook wall.
Be careful you don't find value in who is re-tweeting your comments on twitter.
Be careful you don't fall into the trap of thinking the only way you find significance is through an online status.
You have MUCH to offer others, and they have MUCH to offer you.
Let's live this Journey together.
It's WAY MORE FUN that way.