Young people have a way of reacting to life challenges. They take turns in creating more problems than they could solve. In their ways of trying to live the way they like, they sell themselves short. They see the elderly as visionless people, who have nothing good to offer. So, they fret, argue, get filled up with enthusiasm, lots of questions, with few positive, outstanding behaviours.
Youthful age is full of ups and downs. You and I passed through that stage in life, or may be you’re still there. As a young boy trying to break through some ugly situations of life, I was tempted to depart from godly values. I was lured into defiling myself by becoming involved in drugs, alcohol, pornography, sexual activities, worldly music, and other unhealthy behaviours, yet I could not get involved.
Pressure from the world around me was so severe that I had to seek counsel from my father. I discovered that some youthful excesses and recklessness may just pass for “youthful exuberance” in some quarters, but in others, they may get the person into serious trouble. Some youths do find out along the line that their youthful exuberance, for which they were proud and popular, finally ruined their future. My father told me that the older folks do not behave as most youths do because they have gotten some knowledge about life. Life is all about responsibility. When one realizes the vanity or unreasonableness of some youthful behaviour, one is wont to overlook them and forge ahead.
I was helped. I could not follow my age mates into ungodly behaviours. My father saved me. But one thing I found out is that those temptations helped in pushing me to the right wing. They were lessons that I had to learn, which latter became an encouragement to me. I got a hard “push” to begin doing positive things by myself. That same “push” that I received, activated and benefited so many people today. To encourage others is a worthy purpose. That is what one Biblical Joses did. He sold his land and gave the money to the Church to help the less fortunate. He encouraged Paul by traveling with him on missionary journeys and preached the gospel (Acts 4:36-37; 11:22-26; 13:1-4).
When people noticed his personal worth, they nicknamed him “Barnabas” meaning “Son of Encouragement”. Giving others a “push” of encouragement in their daily activities is a virtue that springs from a humble heart. Humility is a challenge. When we get discouraged bearing the same burden, resisting the same temptation, humility tells us to leave offences behind. The heart that is wounded is the heart that records offences. Offences can come as a result of pride. The position we have attained in life can rob us of our personal worth. When we start to overestimate ourselves, pride can set in. A proud man can never give anyone a “push” of encouragement.
However, it is important to note that for someone to be an encouragement to people, that person must first of all have a testimony. This comes as a result of passing through so many experiences of life, and coming out of them all, unwounded. That’s when you have a story, that’s when you have a testimony. Succeeding through the fires of life gave me a real story to tell. When you suffer in the midst of plenty and succeed at last, you’ll surely have a story. My story came as a result of maltreatment. I was denied the opportunity to live a quality life. I survived because I got to know about somebody somewhere who cares a lot about me. Today, I’ve become a celebrity, wining and dining with royalty. I am today being celebrated by those who scorned and used me in the past, thinking that I will be destroyed on the way. But I conquered, lifted up and appreciated by those who understand.
To so many people, it would be a great opportunity to return evil to evil. Others would rather blow up the roof tops in wild celebrations, to show the world that they have arrived. Not me! Thinking like that, in a world that is overloaded with so much information as ours, is suicidal. You can find out that as human knowledge is doubling every few years, the potential for learning seems endless. No one can actually claim to have arrived. This is really the place where stardom has to be a burden.
Ironically, much of what we are discovering helps us to see how little we know. Humility tells us that when we see ourselves on top, those at the bottom also have a larger control over us, and so despising them solves no problem. People despised me in those wee days, but today they look up to me for help. Do I take a pound of flesh? Well, let us note that there is always a downside to living on an information highway. You can be aware that overloaded computers can crash and our minds can lock up. While looking for useful knowledge, we can get lost in a blinding blizzard of data. A friend once told me that the same browsers we are using to solve our problems can be used to look for word-class gossip, pornography, or instructions on how to make a bomb.
Friend, the fact still remains that knowledge without wisdom is dangerous. The pursuit of knowledge without wisdom can overload our minds and drown us in confusion. As the practical side of knowledge, wisdom shows us what is important. It gives proportion to what we know, and enables us to use insight skillfully to reach a desired goal. Without it, we get distracted from what is important, and are so inclined to be proud and self-sufficient. The solution lies in getting our minds renewed in the knowledge, wisdom and love of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. That is what Vitus Ejiogu did. That is why is so important today. You too can be important when you believe and trust in Jesus!