It was 8th grade and graduation was coming fast. I was the valedictorian (don’t laugh, it made sense in 8th grade) and had to give a speech. But I had no suit to wear. My parents decided to take the trip into Phoenix to buy a sport coat that I could wear. I was excited, and anxious to go on a shopping trip just for me. It was Saturday and about 9 in the morning and I had been ready for more than an hour. My parents were taking their time. They had been out and had breakfast and coffee, but I didn’t understand what was keeping them. I found out when I barged into their bedroom.
Needless to say, that image is burned into my head. I had barged into their bedroom without knocking and without any level of respect. They were out and dressed and ready to go in 5 minutes. It was a quiet and tense drive to Phoenix, and not much passed between us while getting the sport coat and the trip back. I piece of my innocence was gone, never to return. I had also angered my parents and I had to deal with that for a few weeks.
We as a society have had a few wakeup moments in 2017. The sexual scandal after sexual scandal almost made us tired of the term “sexual harassment.” The political polarization of our nation ratcheted to new lows. A baker went to the Supreme Court to get relief from tyrannical laws that force him to celebrate events that his faith tells him are sinful.
Our society does not have the luxury of being innocent any more. It is time to grow up and let go of our petty squabbles and solve problems together. But how do we do that? What I am not going to do is to list all the things our society needs to do. It won’t work. If I say, do this or do that, nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING will happen. So, I’m not going to tell you what to do. Instead, I will encourage those who are doing good. I will take notice of those who may not get much in the way of kind words, but I will work tirelessly to BUILD PEOPLE UP.
Remember the story of Nehemiah. He was so upset at the walls of Jerusalem being down, and all gates broken and burned that he asked to be released from his important job to go build the wall. His employer was so impressed, he sent help. But it wasn’t the government who rebuilt the wall, it was the families. Each family had a small portion of the wall to rebuild and in just a few weeks the walls around the city were complete. The story of Nehemiah is one of faith, hard work, perseverance, building people up and taking a stand. This is what our nation and our society is called to this day.
If you are called to stand the wall, I ask you to look at www.colsonfellows.org. This is the education that I have been going through and it’s been a lot of work. But it has been incredibly rewarding. One of the things I have to do in this program is to put together a 3 year ministry plan. Item number one is to bring this education to Middle Tennessee. Watch for more on that topic to come. I will also continue my encouraging people, and building them up. I will take a stand for truth and will use this podium to call truth to the darkness, in order to banish that darkness to the light. I will have relationships and conversations, some rewarding, some uncomfortable. I will work to make Jesus known throughout my sphere of influence. Not for my sake, but for his… and for yours.