By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
Not only have I observed, but guest after guest this summer has commented on the exceptional Christ-like servant attitude of the 4.12 and summer staff members. Praise God!
An interview with David Brooks (http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2015/june/david-brooks-we-need-to-start-talking-about-sin-and-righteo.html) in the June issue of Christianity Today revealed, “We’ve encouraged generations to think highly of themselves. In 1950, the Gallop organization asked high-school seniors, ‘Are you a very important person?’ Back then, 12 percent said yes. Gallop asked the same question in 2005, and 80 percent said yes” (pg. 64).
A recent New York Times article highlighted the changing attitudes and desires of teenage workers (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/04/your-money/its-summer-but-where-are-the-teenage-workers.html?_r=1). Since 2000, the share of 16- to 19-year-olds who are working during the summer has plummeted by 40 percent.
There is a survey called “The Narcissism Test.” The median narcissism score has gone up 30% in 20 years.
Brooks identified the problem, “When you lose awareness of sin and start thinking that, deep down, human beings are pretty wonderful, you lose the struggle of character building. Building character is not like being better than someone else at a career. It’s conquering your own weakness.”
We are beginning to see the impact today’s “Big Me” focus is having on our culture.
When we live as Christ taught us–to love God first, our neighbor second and ourself last–we are living counter-culturally.
Jesus himself was very counter-cultural. He didn’t come to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).
I have had the privilege of witnessing selfless service first-hand this summer. God has called high school and college-aged students to serve children. And they are doing it remarkably. (Read how our male counselors started at staff training.)
Day after day, I am seeing their character develop as they become less and Christ becomes greater (John 3:30).
There is great fulfillment in serving. We were created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Jim Elliott once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
And the reward? “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life” (Matthew 19:29).