“What would I say to a younger me?”
What a thought-provoking question! and what a question to be asked immediately before the start of a worship service in which you are the guest preacher.
Recently I had the opportunity to preach the Homecoming service in a United Methodist Church in the area. Prior to the service, I walked around the sanctuary and met a few folks already seated, waiting for the service to begin. Ted, an older gentleman and Dylan, a younger man were seated on the second row. My first thought? – grandfather and grandson. How special for them to be in church together!
No – not the case. Dylan was a visitor from South Florida who was in the area working with FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Dylan and his dad, another FEMA worker, were staying in the bed and breakfast owned by Ted and his wife. We exchanged greetings and I went back to my seat.
A few minutes before the service started, Dylan came over to my seat and began to talk some more. Then he said: “I’ve asked Ted this question and I wanted to get your thoughts as well. What would you say to a ‘younger you’? What would you say to me – a young man who is seeking God and trying to build a relationship with God?”
Ok, Trish, answer that in the 2 minutes before the prelude starts!
My words to Dylan? “Don’t limit God. Follow God’s imagination for you”
This was actually the point of my sermon for the day using my favorite scripture:
“Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.” – Ephesians 3:20
“Imagine all that God might have for you – far more than all!”
Dylan’s question has stayed with me since that service. What advice would I give to a younger me? What words might encourage or guide me, especially in my relationship with Christ?
As I wrote this blog, I remembered that I asked a retired pastor a similar question in my first Duke field education experience. “Rev. Culbreth, what would you say to a clergyperson just starting out in ministry?” His words have stuck with me for 27 years: “Love the people. If you can’t love the people, you need to get out.”
[It’s funny how words stay with you. Words that can guide and encourage or words that can hurt and destroy. That’s a blog post for another day.]
What would you say to a younger you?
What word of advice, challenge, affirmation, or encouragement would you give to a younger you?
“Dear younger me, I cannot decide.
Do I give some speech about how
to get the most of your life?
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you’ll make
‘cause they’re choices
that made me.”
Lyrics from the song, Dear Younger Me, by Mercy Me © 2014