Fr. Dan Evbotokhai
In Gal.6:7 the bible says God is not mocked whatever you sow you shall reap. As a youth whatever you sow, you shall reap. We live in a generation where many persons and most youth are not patient. Everybody seem to be in a hurry, everything is set on automatic. Therefore, “to make it” is the drive of everyone. Instead of faith it till you make it, it’s now fake it till you make it. Then when you don’t make it you run into depression the reason many youth commit suicide. This program is set out to remind us of the need to be useful at all times but especially as youth.
We have not come here to begin to look at the meaning of youth or the conceptual breakdown of the word useful. We are here to simply, understand youthfulness and usefulness. Listen as a youth if you are not useful you are useless. Man right from the state of his existence has been created for a purpose and when God created man he placed him in a garden saying to till and multiply. In the garden there are many things to be done. No true farmer goes to his garden on a daily basis and finds himself jobless.
When we say youthful and useful we are otherwise saying that as a youth, you must not only be full of strength, you also need to be productive. This entails that you must be a man or woman of value, adding positive impacts to the society and the world at large. The measure of success in life is not about what you can acquire or the fame you get, but how much impact you are able to make.
Today, as a blogger once wrote we see a bandwagon of young people who have lost focus, who have no vision for their lives, people who are tossed by the winds of change and the tide of time; young men and women whose lives have become stale and have lost the steam of purpose. We see young boys and girls whose lives have become citadels of immorality, permissiveness and corrupt behaviour. We see a host of young people given to the free reins of drug, crime, prostitution, abnormal sexual behaviour (homosexuality and gay-marriage). We see young men who have no fire burning in their bellies, people with not hope, and no vision for the future, no initiative, no creativity, people who live life as it comes!
We shall turn to the scriptures to see the examples of some youthful and useful individuals who impacted in their generation.
1. David: He was useful to his parents in helping to tend the sheep. Through this, He acquired the strength and boldness to save the whole nation from shame; he took off Goliath’s head and the glory and victory was given to the God of Israel (1 Samuel 17:3-55). The skills he acquired as a teenage shepherd boy guided him to be a great king. There are many potentials in us but we just feel that such skills and potential cannot bring about immediate gains therefore no need to begin to nurture it. Here me, if David was not useful to his parents in tending the sheep he would have been useless to the nation. Even our Lord Jesus Christ was a useful youth. He was busy with his father’s business (Luke 2:49). He fulfilled his purpose here on earth at the youthful age of 33years. Today, you get to see children who are not useful to their parents yet want to be useful to their generation.
2. Joseph: He utilized his special gift of the interpretations of dreams to preserve the nation where he sojourned. He gave ideas that brought about economic empowerment for the nation of Egypt (Genesis 41). That gift in you, that special skill may be what society will need for a time like this. Many of us have this same gift but because our spiritual senses are blurred by immoralities we find it difficult to exercise this gift. If you exercise your gift very well irrespective of location, time and restraints the world will look for you. If Joseph had not interpreted the dream of that man in the prison no one would have recommended him to the royalty. Help people in any way you can, whether they are poor or rich, young or old, smelling or attractive.
3. Esther: She was a fearless lady who saved her people from destruction. Esther together with her uncle Mordecai were able to thwart the wicked Haman, who conspires to destroy the Jews living in the Persian Empire. In that book of Esther we are told of the desperate prayer of Queen Esther addressed to God to intervene at the critical time to turn the fate of her people. I don’t know how many youth still sustain a prayerful relationship with God. Can we still get youth who could still fast and pray, not because there is an exam to write or an interview to attend but because you want to deepen your relationship with God. Esther despite her background did not allow her back to remain on the ground. The bible says in Esther 2:7 that she had neither father nor mother. Some of us give excuse of background. Most rich guys we so much admire and desire go and find out about their background you will know that that ground where you are is a point of departure. Again, Esther became queen because she was favoured among the virgins that were selected. I will not border to ask how many virgins can be selected from here or in the society at large?
4. Nehemiah: He was a nation builder (Nehemiah 2:5). He took the courage to raise and rebuild the ruined city wall of Jerusalem. What is our contribution to the community. Today many communities talk about community youth but they are only identified when there is money to share. Whenever there is a purpose at hand regarding common good, values and culture you hardly will see them. Again, in the church, we talk of Church youth, these group is usually fewer when you call for spiritual programs, church work, seminars and the likes. But when it concerns a touch of the loose of immoral the number in participation is usually overwhelming.
All these people among several others were useful youth that imparted or added value to their society.
The Three Levels of Usefulness
(extract from Ibiyemi Victor article on Youth: Youthful and Useful)
Usefulness to oneself: The bedrock of frustration is when one is useless to himself or herself. There is no communication of usefulness to the environment when one cannot in himself ascertain that he or she is happy and fulfilled. As a matter of fact, everything we do in life tends towards making ourselves happy and useful to ourselves first before any other entity. One is useful to himself when he sees that his achievements have met his desire or in line with his desire- when his decisions lead to his development, growth and advancement. On the other hand, you are useless to yourself when you seek to destroy yourself by your actions and decisions.
Usefulness to the society: The second rung of usefulness is to the society. An individual is never an isolated being. His life is intertwined with the society. He cannot in anyway divulge himself from the community. In order not to be repugnant in the society, he must be useful. And there comes the obligation to be useful in the community. When an individual has a pragmatic beneficial importance in the community then his usefulness can be ascertained.
Usefulness to God: “Remember your God in the days of your youth”. The creator did not put us in the world for nothing. He said we must bear fruit. The third tier and the most important is usefulness to God. Usefulness to God comes in dual dimensions as the summary of the commandments, that is, the love of God and love of neigbours. If we must be useful to God, we must be devoted to him, faithfully serve him, and keep his commandments. We must translate that same love of God to the betterment of the society.
This little work is to enable the youth to come to the quick realization that youthfulness is a stage in development. It is a journey therefore we should not be lost in youthful exuberance and remain useless in the rest part of our lives; rather we should make the very best of our time. 1Chron12:32, the Sons of Issachar these are they that had the understanding of the time and their brethren were at their command. I pray we all have the understanding of our time through Christ our Lord.