My last post spoke to those of us 50 and over, but what about the under 50 crowd and yes, I am including the teens and 20 somethings too. In that same Revival class I referenced in my previous post, there were various other reasons we became "comfortable" in where we were in our Christian lives. The one most pertinent to the under 50 crowd was related to time. And for the under 50's, there doesn't seem to be enough of it. Many of the following were mentioned in class and others I have added; too busy at work, too busy with kids and school stuff, too busy with kids activities like dance, sports and music lessons to name a few, I need weekends to recover after a long work week, Sunday is my golf day, I have to study, I worked and went to school all week, I need some me time and a big Sunday favorite, I like to sleep in. Also, here's one that was heard occasionally from the DiBernardi kids when they were home, I stay out late Saturday night, church starts too early on Sunday. And finally, one I fell back on, I'll have plenty of time for that faith stuff when I get older.
OK, with absolutely no time, or so it seems, for "faith stuff", what do you do? Do you wait until you're older? Trust me, that isn't the answer. Since I'm barely over 50, I feel confident in speaking to this issue and plus, it's fresh enough in my memory that I haven't forgotten.
I'll give you a quick look back into my life from my late teens, right up until 50.
Late teens into my early 20's: lots of going out, nightclubs, working out, various jobs and yes, church on Sunday. I usually devoted "a whole hour" to my faith per week.
Mid 20's to mid 30's: met Wendy (lucky me), got married (again lucky me), four different jobs before I found my place, started a family, worked an outrageous number of hours, started coaching and started the craziness of kids' activities. Still attended church regularly, joined Asbury, sang in choir, served on a few committees. Upped my hours devoted to faith to 3 or 4 a week, except in summer, when I was lucky to devote a single hour.
Late 30's to 50: crazy kids schedule, coaching tons of baseball and basketball, still working too much, in fact had two jobs for a while, trying to still stay in shape (wow, it's a lot harder now).
Then in my late 40's, I finally began to allow God into my life daily, which is a story for another day. I know there's lots more in between that I didn't mention over those 30 plus years, but I'm sure all of you can relate to many of these. On a side note, I don't give parenting advice, except when it comes to this, if you have kids, DON'T MISS A THING!! I don't care what you have to do, but don't miss that dance recital, band concert, sporting event, graduation, play, school dance, church activity, or anything else!! You only get one shot at all of those things.
Now back to the time issue. As you can see, my time devoted to my faith over those 30 plus years was less than impressive; however, I was fortunate that the Lord blessed me with enough time in my life so that I finally began to figure it out. So now what?
What does the under 50 crowd do with some of their spare time? Now remember, under 50 also includes teens and 20 somethings. And trust me, the over 50 crowd fits into most of these as well. Let's see, social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and Pinterest to name a few. Games, whether on your phone, tablet or computer, which are too many to mention. And don't forget X-box and Play Station. Binge TV watching from sources like On Demand, Hulu and Netflix. And then there's going out on weekends, eating out (wow, a lot more than I remember when I was growing up), sleeping for what seems like an eternity and hopefully faith related activities. We recently discussed in Asbury the amount of spare time we spent on everything else compared to what we devoted to our faith. The numbers were a wake up call to many of us, myself included. We talked about how if we devoted just a small portion of that time to increasing our faith, what a difference that would make.
So where do you go from here?
1. Try your best to allot some time solely to your faith, whether that be in prayer, in scripture, in service to others and in worship. Looking back at all the stuff you have going on in your lives, that can be a difficult task, but the benefits will far outweigh the sacrifice of time.
2. I can't stress enough the importance of showing your children, if you have them, the importance of faith in their lives. And live a life of faith as an example to them. The earlier you start, the better.
3. Get active in your church, because you are it's future. Find a small group, or maybe even start one, join a bible study, serve on a committee, bring your kids to youth functions and finally, try to attend worship more regularly. If the church is to survive, it will be because of your group. You are the ones that are next in line when all of the elders are gone. Your group has so much to offer, not to mention a lot more energy and younger minds and bodies. Just as the church needs the over 50's to survive, in the end, it needs the under 50's just as much, otherwise, it will cease to exist.
So break out that daily planner or cell phone calendar and allot some extra time for your faith. Speaking from experience, I know it will be of great benefit to you and your family, as well as the church. Not to mention all those that you will have the potential to affect as you become a more active servant of the Lord.
Dave is the Discipleship Czar at Girard 1st. His unofficial title was given because of his love for Christ, and his consistent encouragement for people in their spiritual walk.