Gideon St. Bryce
2019 Message From the Desk of the Youth Director
Happy New Year to all; and especially to the young people of the South Caribbean Conference. It is of course a time of reflection, where we analyse evolving paths and generate new dreams. As we reflect, dream and plan, I leave you with the promise given to us by Jesus Christ, the most authentic person to walk this earth: “… Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world…” I therefore urge you to go forth into 2019 with the confidence that you have an omnipotent companion, as you plan and walk in the will of God.
Permit me, in this message, to share a heartfelt burden. After our recently concluded Camporee, I sat under the empty Assembly tent having a chat with the Security Officer who had safeguarded the unmoved properties the night before. He was expressing to me that he held a great degree of respect for one of his Seventh-day Adventist clients, who repeatedly does not compromise his beliefs for financial gain. He, however, went on to lament that, as someone who had been exposed to Christianity, but was yet to become a professed Christian, he found the distinguishing marks between the Christian and non-Christians to be so dim. He jokingly said to me that it is quite possible that many professed Christians do not get help because when God dispatches the angels from Heaven to help His people, the angels have to return and report to God that they did not see them.
I have to confess that I chuckled at the time, but then the thought lingered with me… the thought of Identity. Who am I? Who do I aspire to be? And what are the consequences of those answers? How does the way I relate to these questions affect my life and my purpose?
I cannot assume to have those answers for each of you, but I do wish to challenge you to ponder the following:
Each of us is a unique creation; a human being made in the image of God.
We have value because of that divine image within us.
The image of God in us has been obscured by sin, but it can be restored.
The Christian story, as it unfolds in the Bible, tells us that this is possible because of Jesus and our faith in and relationship with Him.
The challenge remains that there are many churches and denominations that claim and profess the same factors. However, God has proclaimed that He will have a unique and distinguished people… “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9.
What therefore causes this dimness, spoken of by my Security Officer friend? I have concluded that it is The Lack of Identity. As Seventh–day Adventists, we have not assumed with vigour or placed value on the uniqueness of our purpose. While it may be easy to just cast blame on the “Church”, I challenge you to do the necessary introspection as an individual. Why is the world not looking to us for resolutions to its challenges? We get the same or worst school grades; maybe, we approach education like the rest? We experience the same health challenges; maybe, we eat like the rest? We have the same family breakdowns; maybe, we marry and manage our homes like the rest? We have the same challenges with apostasy; maybe, we do church like the rest?
I am not suggesting that God-fearing people do not have hurdles. But God promised advancement, protection and progress. If we are not experiencing the fulfilment of these blessings in our lives, maybe it is because when God sent His angels… He could not find us…
My challenge to each of us for 2019 is to remember our IDENTITY! In our family encounters, in our social relationships, in our recreational choices and expressions, in our educational pursuits, in our eating and other health habits, in our worship experiences, let’s ever keep before us WHO WE ARE! And as we walk on into becoming the most efficient, effective and purpose driven YOU that is possible, let us not be afraid to Stand Up and Stand Out!