Instant iTunes downloads, next-day delivery, Channel 4 on demand, drive through restaurants and Skype conversations are only some of the features of the fast pace of life in the 21st Century. Technology has advanced rapidly in the last 5 years increasing the speed at which we: order and consume products or access and make use of information.
Adults have never experienced life at a faster pace and young people have never experienced anything slower! As a 30 year old working with young people I am regularly struck by how impatient they are.. (as they try to show me something on a slow loading website or tell me about the goodies they are waiting on arriving in the post) Teenagers have grown up never having to wait for anything. They have been conditioned to believe that waiting is bad. Websites like Amazon offer a fast delivery service at additional cost. But I think there’s a cost to fast delivery which is not advertised on Amazon or any other service which promises instant satisfaction. The hidden cost and high price of impatience is more than a few pounds on a credit card bill, the cost is strength.
The Bible says that those who hope in the LORD will have their strength renewed and that patience is the fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. So the price of impatience is strength. Young people sacrifice strength by being impatient They are weakened by instant gratification and only when they are aware of this will they have any opportunity to deal with it. Youth leaders have a responsibility to set an example in this area and to identify this characteristic of our culture as one which we should not conform to.
Chris Tomlin sings that “Strength will rise as we wait upon the LORD”
Let’s demonstrate the truth of these words by praying that God the Holy Spirit would work in us as youth leaders to make us patient with our young people, patient with our church, patient with our families and patient with the elderly woman fumbling for her purse at the top of the EXPRESS check out queue…
We deny ourselves strength when we’re impatient and we deny our young people the opportunity to see the rewards of patience lived out.
Any thoughts/insights/discussion starters/ further illustrations on this topic are welcome.