A couple of weeks ago there was a viral YouTube video of a popular actor giving an acceptance speech at an awards show for teens. In his speech, he actually gave some pretty solid advice. And after watching that video I wondered what I might say to a group of teens. What would be the three most important things I would share to a stadium full of our future?
So in an alternate reality world where I would be nominated for, win, and then subsequently deliver an acceptance speech for a Teen Choice Award, here are the things I would share:
1. People matter. All people matter. Whether they are funny, smart, good-looking, the same color as you, know how to use an iphone, or none the above, all people matter. People matter because they matter to God. And His grace transcends all human qualifications for acceptability. And if we love God, and He loves people, then we should love people too.
And what does the “people matter” idea look like in practical living? Listening. Spending time. Not judging. Having no expectation. Realizing God loves them too. Setting aside looking cool if it means touching someone’s heart. Take the time to invest in people … because they all matter.
2. Stuff doesn’t matter. Stuff is of very little importance, especially if and when it compromises the idea that people do matter. You can have all the stuff in the world but if it ranks higher in importance than the people around you, you have your priorities wrong.
Remember this scripture passage: though I speak with the tongues of angels, but have not love … I have nothing (1 Corinthians 13 1-3). Let me take some creative liberties to illustrate my point:
Though I have an awesome car and can fill the tank up completely every time, but don’t have love, I am just like an annoying sound to those around me. If I have the most awesome outfits and designer handbags but don’t have love, I am nothing.
And some actual scripture:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven …
Stuff is never more important than people. Ever.
3. Pursue wisdom like your life depended on it. Because it kinda does.
Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding; for her (wisdom’s) proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor.
Wisdom isn’t just knowing things. Wisdom is discernment, insight, and good sense. Wisdom is applying scripture to your everyday life. It is fearing God first and foremost and living accordingly. It is finding someone you respect and admire and learning how they got that way. And they likely didn’t become an awesome role model by ignoring people, acquiring stuff, and parading around in ignorance. Just sayin’.
People matter, stuff doesn’t really matter, and wisdom should be pursued tenaciously. Don’t forget it.
How about you? What would be on your heart to share to a stadium full of teens?