Our church took a group to the Area Wide Youth Devotional at the Hebron Church of Christ last night. Once a month, different area congregations host the youth devotional, and around 6 or so different groups usually attend. Last night, we had over one hundred kids, parents, and other adults get together to worship, eat, and spend time time together. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to get to know other people from different churches.
Brock Johnson, the minister at Hebron, gave a great lesson based out of 1 Corinthians 12 that you can listen to here. A lot of people struggle with comparing themselves with others. “If I could just do xyz like he or she can!”
These kinds of comparisons can be helpful if they are stated in a positive way like when kids practice a sport to be like their favorite athlete. But there are times when comparing ourselves to others can actually be detrimental to our own mental health and to the wellness of our local body of believers.
Brock’s lesson title was, “Is An Elephant a Failure Because He Can’t Climb a Tree?”
Sometimes, in comparing ourselves to others, we will end up failures in our own mind. For example, I love to preach, but I really consider myself a teacher. If I were to look at some of the great speakers of our day and compare myself to them, then I will always come up short. I can aspire to be like them. I can learn from their techniques. But at the end of the day, that is simply not what I consider to be my biggest strength.
We all have talents of varying degrees, and we should try to exercise our talents in our own unique way, a way that no one can perfectly copy.
Brock gave a good illustration for this concept. He had everyone think of any number from one to five. He then asked each group to raise their hands when he called on them and gave each an animal. Some were monkeys, elephants, penguins, song birds, and fish. I was a penguin.
He then went through several scenarios for us to think about. One scenario was climbing a tree. If the penguins, elephants, and fish judge themselves on their abilities to reach the top of a tree, they will always view themselves as failures. Likewise, if an elephant, monkey, and song bird try to compare themselves to the swimming ability of a penguin or fish, then they will always come up short.
Different people simply have different gifts. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12, if we all try to be the same role, then other areas will be neglected. It takes all of us working together and exercising our individual gifts to serve God as a church to our fullest potential.
After the lesson, we had pasta, snack cakes, and a lot of quality time around the table with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Following the meal, our worship leader here at North Broad, Jason, led us all in praise and worship which you can watch here: https://fb.watch/9JRrELseCC/. Then, Dewayne Tapscott from Heritage Christian University delivered a presentation about their school. At these AWYDs, each church tries to get a college representative to come by and tell everyone about their school. It gives a chance for everyone to be exposed to the various college options in our area.
On the first Wednesday night of every month, we come together as a congregation for an Uplift service. We try to do something special each time. For my first Uplift, we wrote down on cards what we loved about North Broad. One of our shepherds had a great lesson on Barnabas at his last Uplift. But at all of them, when we can, we gather together and sing “A Shield About Me.” So, to finish the night, we all circled up, and Jason led us in song. It was a great way to end a perfect night.
North Broad will be hosting in AWYD at the start of 2022. I’ll announce the date as soon as we know for sure when everyone can come! And if you live in their area, I’m sure Brock and the Hebron Church would love to have you!