We are the generation of ‘world changers’, the ‘Timothy Generation’ who have grown up in church learning that it is our responsibility alone to save the world. Through countless alter calls, the pulsating base guitar and the bold proclamations of preachers, Generation Y have discovered that our purpose, and even our calling from God, is to convert unbelievers and live radically for Christ.
I too am a member of Gen Y who learnt early that my sole mission was to live full on for Christ. The words of 2 Timothy insisting that we don’t allow anyone to look down on us in our youth but instead be an example for believers were buried deep into my heart, and thus the concept of being a ‘planet shaker’ became the battle cry of my teen years as I yearned to be of some use in the school yard.
Move forward several years and I found myself in university. No longer was I a naïve school student shoving church pamphlets in my class mates faces; Instead I voluntarily put my differing beliefs aside and learnt from the men and women who had paved the way before me in my chosen profession. The way I saw it, I was learning the fundamental principles and craft that would enable me to change the world upon my graduation, or at least alter the entire landscape of the international media.
Degree in hand and with a few small publication credits to my name, I was ready to go. With aspirations of moving to a different country, somehow gaining a credible and respected position as a journalist and having all the money in the world to do this, I soon found that I was not exactly shaking the planet; I wasn’t even denting it. And a year after I gained my degree, I was behind a school reception desk, answering phones and bandaging up children to make a full time wage.
What had happened to that shiny eyed 14 year-old who had cried out, “Send me, I will go!”? Where were the fruits of the countless years (or so it seemed) of bold, zealous praise to God that had marked me as a child? The passion was still present, but I had little to show for it.
At 23, I have a tendency to think that I know it all. But of late, I have found that gaining the blessing of great preachers and a university degree prove I know nothing at all. As a member of the churched Gen Y, my brain is programmed NEEDING to feel needed. We have learnt that the world needs us. That God needs us. How did this happen? Last I checked God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever imagine. He doesn’t need a bunch of loud-mouthed twenty something’s to accomplish this. Yet he still uses us anyway.
Somewhere along the line, Gen Y has learnt that our lives are useless if they are not radically changing someone or something. Yet if we are confident that we are in the centre of God’s will, why are we so unsettled when we have not yet reached our destination?
David was anointed as Israel’s king as a small, shepherd boy. He was 30 when he was finally crowned king of Judah and it took him nearly eight more years to become king over all of Israel (2 Samuel 5:4-5). In the period between his anointing and his coronation, David defeated Goliath, became a member of Saul’s court, was a fugitive, and gained the love and admiration of an entire race of people.
In the same vain (literally), Christ was named ‘Immanuel’ when his impending birth was announced to Mary. He grew up in a small town and became a carpenter to support his family. It was only 30 years later that he announced his true identity to the world and began to exercise in the miraculous.
If David and Christ had not undergone the years of training and experience prior to the fulfilment of these words, they would not have able to accomplish their callings. Even Christ as the son of God was still fully human and needed thirty years to develop the skills and maturity to minister intensely before sacrificing his life for the world.
Perhaps I am not yet living out the purpose I am confident God has called me to; perhaps I am years away from even reaching half of what I hope to accomplish one day. But this doesn’t mean I can’t be a light for Christ as I sit behind a desk day after day. Just as David spent time in Saul’s court and Christ spent time learning in the Synagogue, this time is for the development and maturing of my skills and faith so I am fully available and useful to God when the times comes for me to step up and out into my full ministry.
Generation Y have been programmed to go, we are the action hero generation intent on moving something, anything. But perhaps before we shake the planet we first need to learn and develop the skills to do this in our own lives. Then the Lord will show that through his spirit, we truly are a generation set to change the world.