A Teen's Resolve to Live "With All My Might While I Do Live"
by Morgan Dowell
“With all my might while I do live.” - Jonathan Edwards
Vision. Perspective. Those are the words that I would use to describe Legislative Days.
We have all heard our parents, pastors, and speakers say things like, “Passing on the baton to the next generation” or, “We need to pass on a multigenerational vision to our children.”
As teens and young adults we just nod our heads, wondering in our minds, “What does it look like for the receiving generation to carry on the vision?”
Our parents have raised us well, but our world is drastically different from theirs. Socially we are not where our parents’ generation was, economically we are drowning in a $16 trillion debt; at this time the church in America is unprepared to face the future . . . and then we have that word politics; to most of us that’s the last place our mind wants to go. But what if our chance to grow in our faith as a generation is found in a town called Springfield; or even Washington D.C.?
One of the verses that ran through my mind as I was coming home on Thursday was Micah 6:8, which says, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (ESV)
Today I would like to share with you my thoughts on what the words Justice, Love, Kindness and Humility have to do with this generation and politics.
In Micah 6:8 we are simply told to “Do justice....” Notice it’s not limited to social justice or any other buzz word. Justice at its core means, “The virtue which consists in giving to every one what is his due.” (Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary) To act justly we may have to make sacrifices. William Wilberforce gave four decades of his life to fighting the slave trade in Britain. It came at a great cost to his health at the end of his life as he he suffered from eye, colon and lung problems. His great regret in life, though, was this: “The first years I was in Parliament I did nothing-nothing that is to any purpose.” Let Wilberforce’s words be a reminder to us that “No man has a right to be idle.” (William Wilberforce) Four decades is a long time to try to make a difference but if we don’t try chances are that regret will fill us later.
As the next two words are kind of together we will treat them as such. “Love kindness....” If we were to make a list how many of us would put “I love to be kind” close to the top? We try to be kind, do the right thing, etc. Yet this is huge in the political realm. Where words are often said in a rush of passion, lobbyists (along with reporters) sit right outside the door. We are called to be kind. Proverbs 21:21 says, “Whoever pursues righteousness, and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.” (ESV) The capitol is alive with the sound of disagreement behind closed doors. So to show love and kindness to others there is not only a responsibility, but also a great display of Christ in our lives.
Last but never least we come to, “Walk humbly with your God.” Are we walking in humility? If not we are hindering our potential to influence lawmakers.
“The attitude with which you take a stand says just as much as the stand itself.” (Alex & Brett Harris)
As a teen or young adult, you have a great influence. Not just in your home, but in the world. Right now our lawmakers are making decisions at the local, state, and national level that will socially and economically burden us for the rest of our lives. If we don’t take a stand for the truth, who will?
As I write this there is a doctor in Philadelphia, PA. who is in court now because he did late term abortions and gave too much anesthesia to a woman. If someone had questioned what that doctor was doing though, would he have hurt as many people as he did? We will never know because until recently no one asked. Thomas Jefferson said, “Question with boldness the very existence of God.” How far we have fallen from asking any questions at all in politics.
Now I’m sure that you are wondering if any of this is possible. You maybe thinking, “I’m too young! No one is going to listen to me.” My encouragement to you is this, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1Timothy 4:12, ESV)
Alone this is not possible. By God’s grace though we are not forsaken. We can do this!
We may never see the fruit of our hard work, but don’t give up just because it’s hard. Martin Luther King, Jr., once told this story, “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures, sweep streets like Beethoven composed music.... Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say: Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”
“For such a time as this...” Esther was called, “To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with... God.”
Is this your life resolution?
Morgan Dowell is an 18 year old soon to be homeschool graduate. She enjoys reading, writing, and playing the piano. Morgan blogs at aheartrefinedbyfire.wordpress.com on being the sibling of someone with special needs. The picture of the Illinois State Capitol was taken by Morgan during her family's visit to Springfield during the 2013 ICHE Legislative Days.