Walt Mueller, the Founder and President of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, has posted this excellent article, for youth leaders (and parents), on teaching students how to keep Christmas, and our “richness” in perspective. And moreover, how to use it for God’s glory.
I challenge you to read the entire article, "Why I Am Rich" here >>
But, he drives home his point with these four applications:
Teach Them the Truth - Let your students know they are rich— and what their Heavenly Father has to say about that.
Challenge Parents to Raise Godly Children, Not Royalty - We've created a culture of childhood royalty by treating our children like princes and princesses, a step that creates a lifelong sense of entitlement that's very hard to break. Expose parents to the world's need, God's heart for the poor and a knowledge of the cultural pressures that facilitate selfishness, materialism and narcissism.
Teach Them to Send - In his wonderful, little book, Don't Waste Your Life, John Piper reminds young readers that missions isn't only about going but about sending. Our kids need to know there is nothing wrong with money and wealth. However, much is required from those who have been given much.
Take Them and Go - Mission trips have become a staple of youth ministry programming, but I'm not sure we always choose, plan and implement trips in ways that bring about lasting change for those who are sent or for those to whom we go. Still, that's no excuse to stop going. Instead, we should 1) examine our mission trips in great detail to see how to be good stewards of these opportunities, and 2) cut the entitlement-feeding stuff from our programming (expensive winter ski trips, etc.) and funnel our youth ministry time into radical giving.
And he concludes with this wonderful example from Sean Litton:
Recently I read Gary Haugen’s great book, Just Courage. Haugen tells the story of his friend Sean Litton, a lawyer who decided to put Christ’s call – to find one’s life by losing it – to the test. Litton walked away from his safe, high-paying and secure job to go to work for Haugen’s International Justice Mission, addressing sexual trafficking and child sexual assault in the Philippines. Sean took his wife and two kids along. His life was changed.
But Sean almost didn’t go. He says there were four things holding him back. There was his comfort that came with his nice house and all the stuff he had accumulated. There was his security and freedom from danger. There was the control he had over the circumstances of his life. And finally, there was the success he was experiencing in his career. But he let go of comfort, security, control, and success. . . and he took the unsafe option by giving up his life and going to the Philippines.
What happened? Sean Litton found his life. In exchange for what he gave up he got back adventure, faith, miracles, and a deep knowledge of Jesus. His faith grew and solidified in ways he could have never imagined.
Let’s pray that our kids will break the patterns we’ve set and live to embrace the calling of Christ, rather than the false gods of comfort, security, control, and success. And, let’s do all we can to make that happen.
3 John 8