My time at New Hope Christian Church is drawing to a close. I love this church family tremendously! The young people I’ve been leading are truly an awesome group of individuals. I am forever thankful to God and to the New Hope congregation for letting me serve them for the past 4 years.
When the realization of the move became obvious and I knew I wouldn’t be with this particular group of youth as their leader anymore, I prayed and thought about what core truths I wanted them to know before I left. Isn’t it funny how major changes in life can weed out the trivia and frivolous, suddenly clarifying what the main things are? I was reading in Deuteronomy at the time and realized Moses was doing the same thing in this book. He had been leading the Israelites for 40 years during some of the toughest struggles of their lives in the desert. God revealed he would not lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and his time as their leader was drawing to a close. So Deuteronomy repeats much of what has already been said and established in the previous books of the Bible. Moses seems to be saying, “Look, I don’t have much more time with you. Remember these things. This is what’s important.”
According to the book of John, Jesus did a similar thing. Jesus, knowing His earthly time with His followers is limited, speaks at their “last supper” together before His death. Jesus knew what was coming and knew it was not what the disciples were expecting, and what didn’t make sense then would make complete sense later. So what was the main message Jesus wanted His followers to remember? It is a powerful one. It means more to me now that I’m leaving a group that I dearly love. Jesus told His followers, in John 13:33-35, 33“My children, I will be with you only a little longer… 34“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” He had just washed their feet to demonstrate the way they were to love and serve, humbly and selflessly.
I am so convicted by this passage, for I know I have not humbly served the way Jesus commands. I have been selfish way too often. I don’t want the youth to look at me and follow my footsteps. I want them to look at Jesus and follow Him better than I ever have. I told them as much on Sunday. I told them to spend time with Jesus. Study His words and actions. Do what He says to do. How do we know what He says to do? Read His words in the Bible and study them.
My prayer for the youth, for all of us, is to really love each other, humbly and selflessly, with Jesus’ powerful love. And I leave them with this message in the song, “Words I Would Say” by Sidewalk Prophets: