OceanSide church of Christ
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THREE MISSING INGREDIENTS
Victor M. Eskew
It is easy to be critical of others. If that criticism is wrong, it creates barriers that can destroy relationships. Many, therefore, have a tendency to never voice opposition to the attitudes and behaviors of others that are not in harmony with Christian principles. It is easier to say nothing than it is to be looked upon by others as a troublemaker or as one who is completely out of touch.
Over the course of the past several years, this writer has made some observations that have troubled him. These observations involve a group of young adults between the ages of 20 and 35 years of age. As we discuss these observations, it must be made clear that not all young adults possess these qualities. Too, some may possess just one of the qualities and not all of them. But, these traits have been manifested by enough young adults that this author has seen a “pattern of behavior” that is troubling. It is hoped that those in this age group will examine themselves and these characteristics with honesty and sincerity. These points are made to help and not to hurt.
First, young adults between the ages of 20 to 35 years of age often fail to have proper respect for the older generation. They seem like they “tolerate” the elderly rather than truly honoring them. They may listen to the words of their elders, but they have no intention of implementing anything that they say. They long for the day when the aged are silenced by death, and they can occupy their positions of power with no resistance at all. This writer is reminded of the words of the wise man found in Proverbs 30:11-14. It seems that the inspired penman dealt with similar individuals in his day. He writes: “There is a generation that curseth father and doth not bless mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. There is a generation, whose teeth are swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among man.”
Those who disrespect and disregard the aged need to learn and apply two Biblical principles: humility and respect. No man should ever think of himself more highly than he ought to think (Rom. 12:3). He should constantly view himself through the lens of the Almighty God. One’s youth, education, strength, looks, etc., do not make him better than anyone, especially his elders. With regard to respect, Leviticus 19:32 should be applied. “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.” This respect is not to be a “tongue and cheek” respect. It should be a deep, inner, appreciation, love, and reverence for those who have fought the battles of the past and have paved the way for those of the younger generation.
Second, many young adults in their 20s and 30s fail to have a solid standard of morality that they apply both to themselves and others. For many in this age group, standards are loose when it comes to manner of dress, social drinking, homosexuality, vulgar language, and other moral issues. They may apply moral principles to themselves, but they do not really think that others have to adhere to them. They may live by many moral principles, but they fail to really teach them to their children. Choice, tolerance, and “don’t judge” attitudes create their stands, or lack thereof, on moral principles.
The key for young adults is to become fully persuaded that the Bible IS the Word of God. It is a divine, holy standard that teaches man how he should and should not live in this wicked world. Paul told Titus: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Tit. 2:11-12). The Bible clearly enumerates “the works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21). Young people must be convinced “that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21). If they do not learn these things, God pronounces a woe upon them. “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! (Isa. 5:20-23).
Third, the young adult group between the ages of 20 to 35 does not seem to have the work ethic of the generations of the past. Shorter days, more time off, and higher wages are expected. Any errors or mistakes they make on their jobs they feel should be overlooked by their employers. Coming in late, taking off early, and long lunch periods are the rule not the exception. Excellence has been put aside for satisfactory. Diligence has been put off and acceptable has been put on. Quality is viewed as “it will do.” Bring treated with fairness is more important than the satisfaction of a job well done.
Two passages of Scripture need to be studied and put into practice by all that are in the workforce. One of the passages was penned by the wise Solomon. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might…” (Eccl. 9:10). The second comes from the New Testament book of Colossians. “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as men pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:22-24). Both of these verses declare the type of work ethic that God expects of His people. Slothfulness, laziness, and waste should not be a part of the Christian’s toolbox.
As we stated earlier, not all youth manifest these traits. There are many who are respectful, highly moral, and are diligent workers. However, many in this group struggle with one or more of the problems mentioned above. All Christians in this age group need to commit their ways to the Lord. If they find themselves failing on one or more of these areas, they need to repent and seek to live up to the standards God has set in His Word. Their motto ought to be desire of the psalmist: “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end” (Ps. 119:33).