During the season of Lent, the church I serve has short thirty minute services on Wednesday evenings. This year, using William Willimon’s Thank God It’s Friday as a guide, we’ve focused on the seven last words from the cross.
Tonight, I’m giving the message on the words “I thirst.” I think the words “I thirst” are particularly appropriate for youth ministry. One of the reasons I really enjoy youth ministry, and at times find it difficult, is the fact that teenagers, once they become passionate about something, are resolute in their determination to reach their goal, letting nothing get in the way. In a sense, it’s almost as if they forget any rationality and if you’re in the way, you better get on board or move. For many of us, myself included, and as Willimon notes, "It is a sign of immaturity for a person to be too eager, too single-mindedly in pursuit in something. Mature individuals learn to step back, to live with balance and cool deception. In fact, most of us probably long for balance and contentment."
So, when my youth come to me with new ideas, I often ask them to slow down and join me in thinking through the process of whatever task is at hand. Unsurprisingly, slowing down is the furthest thing from their minds. Whether it’s a new small group, topics to discuss, or even international mission trips the youth never want to slow down.
In the same manner, slowing down was not the way of Jesus. Jesus blessed those who thirsted after God like a teenager who has a goal in mind and is convinced that no one may say otherwise. Maybe this is why Jesus first invited the youth, celebrating their thirst for God’s righteousness and presence.