FIRST-PERSON: Refusing to waste our lives

by Daniel Woodman, posted Tuesday, June 16, 2015 (3 years ago)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) -- We don't know how to work hard, they say. We lack real motivation. We are a lost generation.

I hear these whispers of doubt all the time about our generation. Yet, I regularly see evidence that contradicts these generalizations.

I was able to witness hundreds of students my age descend upon Columbus, Ohio, to help in a "ForColumbus" project by meeting physical needs while sharing the Gospel as part of Southern Baptists' Crossover outreach across the city. These students did not have to go. Summer break, to be sure, can give the typical college student every reason not to serve on mission.

However, these students elected to leave the comfort of home to serve a purpose that extends far past a summer. The benches they painted will need to be repainted at some point and the sidewalks they swept will not stay clean for long. What will stay much longer is the spiritual impact these students are having on the city of Columbus.

There is something about hundreds of students, some from as far away as Arizona and Quebec, uniting with churches in the community to make real change that stirs a certain sense of hope that cannot be denied. The labor certainly provides a great deal of temporary hope, but what interests me far more is the spiritual hope that spreads when God works through my generation.

Unashamed -- and unwilling to leave without an impact -- I saw my generation take what they were taught by older generations inside church walls and from old family Bibles and apply it to the real-world battlefield of the streets where souls are fought for daily.

In visiting various projects across Columbus on June 13, I came across a group working with community members to transform an empty lot into a community garden in a day's time along with a block party at a nearby church to help share the Gospel in the community. This ambitious undertaking was aimed at providing a stable location for a struggling community -- one that had just been shaken by a quadruple homicide in the early morning hours.

I expected to see fear, I'll be the first to admit. Yet what I saw from the students and those in the community was something quite different; I saw unequivocal determination. The task at hand was to build a better future for the community, and I saw no indication that the current circumstance would deter that vision. What I saw that day was a community and my generation come together to transform the community both physically and spiritually, and that no intimidation could halt this assembly serving a risen Savior.

This is what happens when my generation realizes our potential. We fall short and are constantly deceived by Lucifer's lies, I realize that. Yet we press on. We refuse to surrender and we refuse to waste our lives. We have joined the fight.

Daniel Woodman, Baptist Press summer intern, is a journalism major at the University of Missouri.
Download Story