Is that the question? May that be the question? Ought that to be the question?
Will you go to the Young People’s meeting? Will you go to their outing? Will you help with the fundraiser?
There are many reasons to say yes. It is pleasing to the Lord. It will benefit you and your church, strengthening your fellowship and communion. Going to Bible study will increase your knowledge of God’s Word. Good causes will prosper with your participation, together with the participation of others in the group.
There are all kinds of reasons to say no. You will need to sacrifice, give of yourself. You may not be pleased with the way things are run. You can think of things you would rather do. You don’t need to go. You are not required to participate. Your parents might only sigh, but they will not rebuke you or punish you if you do not go.
What will you do?
But have you ever thought beyond the question? Have you ever thought about what you are saying or thinking by even considering going or not going? Should you be asking the question at all? Should you even be having the debate?
The question to go or not to go can be a temptation. The temptation comes when those questions become a way of finding reasons not to participate. You are asked the question. Does that mean that you have the right to refuse? You are only exercising your right to say No. Youcan think of someone else who can go, someone else who might do a better job, someone else who is more willing. You can think of all kinds of things you would rather do. So you scrape together your reasons, and on their basis you do not go.
You do this not once, not twice, but several times. It becomes a habit, so much so that perhaps no one asks you anymore. Any possibility of saying Yes and of participating becomes more and more remote.
Satan loves to see the young people of the church of Jesus Christ in that way, for it is his way.
What is Satan’s plan? He wants you to say No often, so that it brings you closer and closer to refusing what God requires in His Word. Your foe will begin with things that are optional, the things that you can turn down without causing a fuss or trouble for yourself. But he will keep pushing, working to get you to refuse more and more. Then you will find yourself right at boundaries clearly laid out in Scripture. But if the devil has gotten you that far, it will be difficult to recognize those boundaries. By that time, admonitions of your parents and even fellow young people will sound only faintly in your ears. His ultimate goal is that you begin saying No to God’s Word, where it clearly lays out your duty. Satan wants you to say No to the commandments of Scripture. He wants you to say No to making confession of faith. He wants you to say No to regular church attendance.
Another goal Satan has is to separate you from the church. Over there are the young people of the church. There they have their meetings. But you are not there among them. There they go, doing this, doing that. But you are not found among them. Separate from them, you become an easier target for the Satan’s wiles. He turns your mind to see your fellow young saints in a bad light. You begin to justify your separation by scorning them, perhaps calling them hypocrites. You think evil of them because they stop asking you, maybe accusing them of hating you. The devil also knows that, separated from the people with whom you belong, it is easier to push you toward worldly companions. You start running with a different crowd. Before you know it, you are far from your fellow young people, far from the church, and in the embrace of the world.
How do you avoid those temptations? Learn to say, “Yes, I will go.” “Yes, I will do it.” But then go further. Put aside the question, “Will I go?” and learn to answer, “Of course I am going!” Not go to the meeting? Who would think such a thing! Not help out? I wouldn’t dream of that!
Scripture addresses your participation in a number of ways. Think of the difference between laziness and diligence that Scripture addresses in Proverbs 10:4, 12:11, 24, 13:4, 11. Diligence extends to far more than what God’s Word explicitly requires. Diligence is part of the wisdom to lay hold on opportunities that are set before you. That diligence certainly applies to your spiritual relations to your fellow saints.
Second, Scripture calls you directly to consider seriously your place in the body of Christ. I Corinthians 12:25 especially demonstrates that it is according to the very nature of the church as a body that the members take care for one another. Ephesians 4:16 shows that your love (constant, committed care) is the way that the body of Christ is strengthened by the truth of God’s Word. You show that love in the way of your participation, of saying Yes.
Third, you have all the examples of saints that placed themselves at God’s disposal. Think of Abraham saying to the Lord, “Behold, here I am” (Gen. 22:1). Think of Samuel saying, “Speak, for thy servant heareth” (I Sam. 3:10). Think of David, still a youth, identified by God as “a man after God’s own heart” (I Sam. 13:14). Can you imagine Abraham, Samuel, or David saying No to the Lord? You would hardly dare bring the question, “Should I go?” Of course you will go! God calls you to take your place, to do your part, without hesitation.
That you are a steward of God in His kingdom also touches on your involvement in and commitment to the church. That stewardship is first outward. He has given you your place in the group for the service of your fellow young people in that group. He has given you work to do in that group. Some of that work benefits the group. Some of it benefits those outside the group, with whom the group works. Will you go and do the work the Lord has for you in that group? Will you stand in the place He has set up for you? Of course!
That stewardship is also inward. The Lord has given you gifts and abilities to use in His service. He has given you your mind and will and your strength of heart and soul. He has given you particular abilities and gifts, abilities and gifts that He has not given to others. God has given you these gifts for you to use and exercise in His service.
The outward stewardship God has given you is supplied by your inward stewardship. Those outward opportunities that the Lord has given you He calls you to meet and fill with your strength, your talents and abilities. The whole group, or those served by the group, profits from your gifts and abilities.
When you look at your participation as a stewardship you see that your Yes is a Yes to God. It is a calling from God, and your place in it aims straight upward to God’s kingdom. Your participation lays up treasure in heaven. Your obligation becomes splendid and glorious, carrying its profit in things eternal.
But you also profit in this life from your participation. There are two ways in which you profit. First, channels and lines will be built up between you and the other members of your group. Along those channels you will not only give, but you will also receive. You will be blessed simply by being in fellowship with others. You will be encouraged. There are also times when you will be able to be admonished, and you will be able to take that admonition well because of the strong relationships that you enjoy with your fellow saints.
The other way in which you will profit is that your spiritual strength will grow, and your abilities to use the talents that God has given you will grow. You will grow in motivation. Your desire to contribute will grow. You will find it easier to say Yes and more enjoyable and rewarding to follow through.
Your participation will be a sign of your spiritual health and strength, and with your continued participation you can expect to grow stronger, healthier, and more mature.
Will you go?