Big things come in small packages. I think the person who said that sat beside me in my high school geometry class. And even though I was really bad at geometry, I would never copy off that guy’s paper. Because that would be very wrong, yes. But also because the answer would also likely be very wrong.
Let’s be real. As much as I tried, I could never make myself care what “Y” equaled. Congruently (see what I did there?), I don’t care what size the package is. Just as long as the package is for me. I love it when the delivery truck pulls into my driveway. A friend mentioned the other day that she gets so much more out of sending a package to someone else than she does from receiving a gift herself. I plastered a smile on my face and nodded like I understood, but I’m ready to be honest now: She doesn’t get me at all. And if she ever does get me, I’m convinced she’ll be a little appalled.
I was reminded recently of something even more appalling. Did you know that various studies indicate that 60 to 70 percent of our 20-somethings – even those who were very active in church during their growing up years – stop attending church before they hit 30? Not a few of them. Not some of them. Most of them. That’s beyond appalling. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
When it comes right down to it, we don’t get to choose on behalf of the next generation. It’s not really a “package deal.” Each one will make his own choice to follow Christ or to walk away.
We can’t choose for them. But we can make sure we train them. We can continually speak the gospel into the lives of the young people we’re around. Without a true saving knowledge of Christ, they take nothing solid into adulthood – nothing real to build their lives on. They need truth.
Training others in how to walk out a solid faith will always build up the church. Paul talked about it in Eph. 4:12 when he spoke of training saints “in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.” We can tell them with our words and we can show them by our example how to love Jesus and love people in His name, passionately working for the Lord. We’re told in the next verse that the people who get that will “no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit” (vs.14).
The truth in love. It’s what every generation needs. “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head – Christ” (Eph. 4:15). And as we give it out and live it out, we’re not only helping others grow, we’re growing in Christ ourselves. It’s better than merely receiving. It’s bigger than just giving. It’s the total package! And you can copy my answer on that one.
As for my packages here at home, I’ve come up with my own theorems and formulas on that. Looks like I’ll probably always be at least a little appalling.
Rhonda is a pastor’s wife, happily married and living in the St. Louis area. She is a humor columnist for publications in the U.S. and Canada and is the author of 10 books with more on the way. She says she will keep cranking them out as long as the Lord allows. –And the psychoses hold out.