Two Different Experiences
I recently read an article written by one of our millennials about two experiences they had within twenty-four hours. Though these experiences happened a few years ago and in an area far from our conference, I felt that they speak to us today.
The article began by describing a recruiting event that the author had attended. The job offer had many challenges, it and the informational session attempted to portray that to the group that had come to apply. Recruiting officers explained the process that would happen for the next few hours, how the recruits would be mentally and physically evaluated before even having the opportunity to apply for the job. The mental exam and application forms would be difficult and would require openness and honesty about their lives and their way of thinking. The physical test would be rigorous and each person would have to push themselves to the limits and beyond. Of the one hundred or so that were at this event, only five or six would make it through the process and be accepted to move further down the process toward final hiring.
After portraying such a challenging picture, the recruiting officers started explaining the end goal. They spent the next few minutes talking about how they enjoyed their work and how the applications challenges were worth all the effort these new recruits would put into this. They shared a video that showed the vision, passion and excitement of those that had pursued this career. All this was done to inspire these recruits to put heart and soul into applying.
In talking with the author, subsequent experiences found the officers continuing to cheer these novices on. Even the recruits began to catch the attitude and in turn cheered each other on as the physical challenges were attempted.
The second experience involved attending a church service. First impressions were positive as the visitors were warmly greeted at the door by some of the members. However, the sense of wanting to belong quickly dwindled as the service began. The sermon was filled with gloomy thoughts about how hard it is to get into the kingdom, but the encouragements and support that had just been felt in the recruiting event were missing. When exiting the service, instead of having a sense of excitement about the prospects of the Christian life, the atmosphere was one of discouragement and hopelessness.
The article continued by describing a service a week later where the pastor started his remarks by saying, “Hello, I am a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and I love Jesus.” In a nutshell he explained that “healthy sheep...make sheep.... If we are a church that is healthy and excited about why we exist, we will be building each other up and drawing others into the fold. We all need encouragement and it’s okay to be the first one to reach out and share that with others.”
It is not just millennials that need encouragement and support. The Christian life can be difficult and challenging. The world around us can be seeking to hold us back. We deal with discouragement in our everyday world. We need each other to encourage and strengthen our resolve.
The author of Hebrews said it like this: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching,” Hebrews 10:23-25.
It is so true that how we see our journey and our involvement in something affects how we portray that to others. Jesus has asked us to focus on Him, to ‘keep our eyes on Him,’ and He promises that, in turn, we will become like Him. Be Jesus to those you encounter, share a kind word, an encouraging thought. Be the conduit for God’s love to flow through you in blessing to others. In so doing those around you will be attracted to His love and want to join us in the journey to the kingdom.