My dad is a very smart man. He went to college for two years, and at that time could have been a science teacher. He chose instead to go work in a paper mill and provide for our family that way. He worked shift work for 20 years and then left the paper mill and moved back to Colorado where he grew up.
When I say my dad is a very smart man, I don’t necessarily mean formal education, but Dad reads a lot and has gained knowledge and practical life lessons that he has tried to pass down to us and anyone who will listen. Two of the things I remember that he told me are, “People can take everything you have except your knowledge, what you have learned.” Another one is, “Where my rights end, the rights of others begin.” These two nuggets have taught me to value learning something every day and to respect the rights of others and not impose my freedoms on others violating their rights.
When one examines Jesus’ ministry, he was all about teaching life lessons to his disciples and those around him. He taught them the secrets of the kingdom of God (Matthew 13:11). In the sermon on the mountain, Jesus said several times “You have heard ... But I say ...” When I thought about these statements Jesus made, I realized that what we have heard and learned as the truth may not be the complete truth. Recently, I was at a youth conference and there was a group discussion about topics that are controversial issues in our society today. Two of the subjects were the recreational use of marijuana and homosexual marriage. My discovery through these discussions with youths from across the region is that they are drowning in an ocean of information that leads to no definitive right or wrong conclusion but places the acceptable answer in the middle ground and leaves it up to the individual to determine their own right from wrong. Jesus desired to reveal the deeper things of God and a true spiritual connection with the trinity, different from the spiritual zeal or ritual of the day.
Out of the hundreds of followers, Jesus chose 12 that he called to follow him and to pour his life into. The 12 lived, ate and traveled with Jesus, and Jesus’ school was in session every day. Jesus was fully committed to teaching the disciples everything he could in a short time. Jesus revealed spiritual truth and gave the disciples the keys to the kingdom. In turn, the disciples were commissioned and empowered to pass along the truth to others that believed.
What life lessons have you learned in your life experience and spiritual walk? Those life lessons need to be passed to the next generation. Sunday night, I had the privilege of attending the Bear River Young Life Banquet. The speaker shared that there is a generation that “wants to be found.” I believe the generation of the ages 8 to 25 are looking for a spiritual truth in the ocean of voices that are calling out to them. I ask that whatever life lessons you have learned, and particularly spiritual truth, be shared with the generations that will follow. After all, God always has called and equipped his people to share him with generations and nations.
Tim Douglas is pastor at Ridgeview Church of God in Craig. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.