Church youth are called to speak
Examine Elihu as an example of admonishment. | Photo Illustration by Thecla Li / THE CHIMES
Upon entering Biola, students are encouraged to get involved in the local church. We have heard President Barry Corey and others in authority speak on the importance and influence of involvement in community upon spiritual and personal growth.
FEED OTHERS—STOP TAKING
So we volunteer, get hired on the Spiritual Development staff and the Torrey and Missions conference staff. We are junior high leaders who hold babies in nurseries and serve on worship teams. We have an important role to serve and play our part in the betterment of the Biola and church communities. Many of the different staffs we serve on are student run.
Yet, I believe that despite our roles and the trust extended to us to help foster growth in one another and those we serve, we often feel too timid to speak out in these places.
Often, churches need different perspectives—and we are educated in biblical, hermeneutic and theological subjects.
However, we often take the position of being fed. We go to church and do our part, but only to a certain extent. We comment to one another about the repetition of the sermons. We clap for baptisms, but looking around, we can clearly see that the church is often entirely motivated by numbers and not depth. In response, we silently shake our heads, wishing more for the church: spirit-lead worship, depth of biblical interpretation, helpful missions and college groups that portray the life-changing message of Jesus—not a watered down, self-preserving gospel to incorporate into your work schedule.
How do we stand up? After all, we are only 20-somethings. It would not be the place for us to suggest change. Would it?
In Job 32, Elihu waits to comment on Job’s behavior because of his age. He respectfully seeks to honor culture, and allows Job’s friends of equal age to speak with Job.
But he is unsatisfied. He feels that Job “justifies himself rather than God” and therefore burns with anger. Impassioned and unhappy with the way Job’s friends admonished him. Elihu speaks in verses 1-12, acknowledging his youth:
“I am young in years, and you are aged; therefore I was timid and afraid to declare my opinion to you.”
However, he continues in verses 8-10:
“But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. It is not the old who are wise, nor the aged who understand what is right. Therefore I say, 'Listen to me;
let me also declare my opinion.'”
Instead of allowing his age and seemingly restrictive church culture to define his level of wisdom, Elihu follows the prompting of the “breath of the Almighty.” He regards his opinion as equal to the other men because of the Holy Spirit that resided within him.
As Christians, we are called to be a part of the body of the Church. This means admonishing one another in love and declaring our opinions—respectfully, but with the authority of the Lord whose Spirit we carry and are guided by.