Day 32 – Wonderful Youth
On: December 2, 2014   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

“When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” [Luke 2:39-40]

Isn’t this is a bit of a volte face? Yesterday, old was king; today, it’s wonderful youth. Make your mind up, Simon! Silly question, of course. Anyone can know God’s grace in their life, whatever their age. In 21st Century Britain, where I am writing, the high level of youth unemployment is a scandal. All that potential not only lying unused, but becoming disengaged with mainstream society. Mainstream society will be the loser. And I was astounded recently when I was informed that, as someone over 50, I was in an “at risk” category. If I found myself out of work, the chances of finding a new job would be seriously reduced.

There’s something fundamentally wrong when the energy of youth and the experience of the older are cast aside. This is not the Way of the Kingdom of God. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

All are valued and God has plans to use and prosper us whether you’re a toddler or a teenager, 24 or 84 … or any age in between. The organisation I spoke of  briefly yesterday, Riding the Tide, will aim to engage old and young alike. As a business plan, it seems a no brainer to me.

We’re all different shapes and sizes. Do we give space and encouragement to enable each to shine?

And what of Jesus? He’s moved from baby to childhood, a dozen years in the backwaters of Galilee, when He was quietly growing like any other boy. God was preparing His Servant, filling Him with strength and wisdom for the life that lay ahead. A rounded character surrounded by God’s grace. Nice one.

By contrast, for young people today, I worry that so much focus is placed on academic education. For some, this brings to life their giftedness. Great. For many, though, it alienates them and the years when they could be growing into their unique mix of abilities are wasted. Parents have the unique privilege of trying to identify their children’s skills and then steer and support them as they develop. Do we rely too much on a ‘one size fits all’ system rather than developing the uniqueness in each one of us? We’re not told the detail of Jesus’ upbringing, but Mary and Joseph clearly got it right. Will we?

And, of course, a parent remains a parent even though the children may long since have flown the nest. The same principal should apply when it comes to adult careers and lifestyle choices.

Prayer:

Father God, grant wisdom to parents to see the gifting of their children and to seek the best route for them to develop those gifts. Amen.

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