Dear Fellow Millennials,
I am sick and tired of the labeling attached to this title of “Millennial” as much as you are. Yes, the aversion to labeling further identifies me as a Millennial. I know we are more than iPhones, Instagram, and pour over coffee. The labeling and stereotypes exists, both fair and unfair. Yet, I marvel at what my peers are doing in the workplace, in their community, and in the local church. I see passion for issues that were overlooked or ignored by previous generations, such as social justice and caring for God’s creation.
My concern, both for myself and my fellow Millennials, is not that we would lack passion but perseverance. We have great ideas and are more global in our thinking because of growing up with the WORLD wide web from our earliest years. We speak up at meetings and on our social networks about the latest “trending” topic.We are action-oriented. We are quick to point out errors and the discontinuity in our world, whether through our words or actions. These are good things. However, I want to provide two cautions for us and challenge all Millennials, including myself, to grow in these areas.
Give it time. We need to take some time before retweeting the next provocative tweet or simply reacting to the latest story. There is a difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is often impulsive and lacks the substantial thoughtfulness to nourish one’s life and foster lasting change in our world. Responding is often carefully cultivated and crafted to form the diet of a healthy world and lay the foundation for lasting change. Let’s work to take some before reacting to the latest story to fill our news feed. There is not a formula for “how long” to wait but give it time before jumping in with our words or actions. Give stories time to develop and hear things from a variety of perspectives. Then, engage with passion, humility, and wisdom. Our reactions to stories is often an indication of our hyper-activity and connectivity to our world.
We need to give ourselves greater time to reflect upon the challenges and complexities of our world before we courageously and creatively engage our world.
We desire to act quickly and decisively but let’s examine the situation a little more carefully and slowly before we act.
Change will take time. I am so thankful to be called a Millennial. I am not sure I have ever acknowledged this before but I am. We do not lack for great ideas but we may lack the stamina to see them them become reality. Ideas are refined and developed over time. Our first idea will rarely be the best or finished product. The revisions and criticisms received along the way should be seen as necessary training for the stamina our ideas require for the marathon it faces to become reality. Change will take time and it is often slow. We may see some change early on but deep, systemic, and decade long challenges will not be overcome in our hurried efforts. Lasting change will require our optimism, creativity, shared efforts, and sustained effort for weeks, months, years, and possibly decades. We will be prone to give up and move onto the next item. The time we take before we engage ought to be a time where we prayerfully discern and receive counsel from others to weigh the cost of committing to a certain area. We will need perseverance for our endeavors.
Millennials, we are thoughtful, creative, and passionate men and women. You help me see the world in new ways and enjoy God’s creation in a way that I would not otherwise. I find myself challenged by each of you engaging in a variety of issues across the globe, including theological education in third-world countries, sustainable agriculture for the hungry, and caring for orphans near and far. We are part of a world that has many economic, political, and physical challenges facing it. God has given us an opportunity to engage our world with the Gospel by demonstrating the beauty and holistic implications for our lives and the world. Our challenge is to give it time in order to count the cost of our efforts and then to engage with courage, compassion, and completeness. Our challenge is also to recognize that our worthwhile efforts will take time to take root and flourish.
Father, we thank you for the desire to act and see the Gospel made visible in our world. We ask for courage to speak words of truth with grace, humility, and conviction. We ask for wisdom to engage our world with awareness, thoughtfulness, and perseverance. We ask for humility to learn from others and repentance where we error. May the beauty of Christ shine through us so that the world may see Him as they view us. In the words of the Psalmist, “Not to us, Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory.”
Your Fellow Millennial