“A society of genuine loving souls, set free from the self-seeking struggle for personal prestige…would be something unutterably priceless and powerful. A wise person would travel any distance to join it.”-Elton Trueblood
One summer. Three months. Thousands of Work Crew and Summer Staff. Millions of hours volunteered. Why?
Why will thousands of high schoolers and college students sacrificially work hard and long hours for free this summer?
The same reason I once drove from Colorado to California to eat at In-N-Out Burger. Well, it’s not exactly the same, but that sure was a good burger.
Quaker scholar and theologian, Elton Trueblood, offers a helpful answer to the question.
There is no person in history who has impacted all of mankind more than Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was deeply concerned for the continuation of his redemptive, reconciling work after the close of his earthly existence, and his chosen method was the formation of a small band of committed friends.
He did not form an army, establish a headquarters, or even write a book. What he did was to collect a few very common men and women, inspire them with the sense of his spirit and vision, and build their lives into an intensive fellowship of affection, worship, and work.
One of the truly shocking passages of the gospel is that in which Jesus indicates there is absolutely no substitute for the tiny, loving, caring, reconciling society. If this fails, he suggests, all is failure; there is no other way. He told the little bedraggled fellowship they were actually the salt of the earth and that if this salt should fail there would be no adequate preservative at all. He was staking all on one throw.
What we need is not intellectual theorizing or even preaching, but a demonstration. One of the most powerful ways of turning people’s loyalty to Christ is by loving others with the great love of God. We cannot revive faith by argument, but we might catch the imagination of puzzled men and women by an exhibition of a fellowship so intensely alive that every thoughtful person would be forced to respect it. If there should emerge in our day such a fellowship, wholly without artificiality and free from the dead hand of the past, it would be an exciting event of momentous importance. A society of genuine loving souls, set free from the self-seeking struggle for personal prestige and from all unreality, would be something unutterably priceless and powerful. A wise person would travel any distance to join it.”Elton Trueblood
Many of us will head to Young Life properties across the world to serve together this summer.
As Young Life leaders.
As Assigned Teams.
As Summer Interns.
As babysitters for YoungLives.
As Property Staff.
As Work Crew.
As Summer Staff.
What if we exhibited a fellowship so intensely alive that it turned people’s loyalty to Christ? The strategy of Jesus was the formation of a small band of committed friends. It’s no accident we crave to belong.