■■■■■† 화란한인교회에 오신 것을 환영합니다. 암스테르담, 암스텔담, 암스텔빈, 암스텔펜 한인교회 †■■■■■
English sermon ('19.05.12) Go Back!
2019-05-13 21:11:24, view [
Go Back! (1 Kings 19:19-21) 2019.5.12 KRCN Parents Sunday
19 So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. 20 Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
21 So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant. (1Kings 19 NIV)
A British-American writer Simon Sinek once did an interview in a programme called Inside Quest with Tom Bilyeu where he talked about the Millennial Generation. The Millennial Generation he refers to is the group of people who are born in 1984 and after. They are about 35 year old adults as of this day, the Baby Boom Generation gave birth to.
According to Sinek, these Millennials are often accused of being ‘entitled’, ‘narcissistic’, ‘self-interested’, ‘unfocused’, and ‘lazy’ – and the reason they are prone to be characterised that way is because they ‘confound leadership so much!’
What it means is the young people who belong to this group demand of their seniors or parents about things that sound good but quite cloudy in real. They say they want to work in a place with purpose, that they want to make an impact, that they want free food and bean bags. This points out in a way that things that are out of the question have boldly settled in their mindset.
By asking for things like free food and bean bags, they could mean that they think of not just themselves but others as well, for people for example, who cannot prepare food or cannot adapt into formality. By making such claim, they try to make known that they are a noble-purposed, unique group of people, different from their parent generation who were only busy to fill themselves.
Interestingly enough, in the attitude of our church which has a roughly similar age to the Millennials, I discover similar attributes. In the beginning it must have been that gathering together is the most important thing. So the biggest issue was how to appease people and bring them to church. But with the church reaching nearly its 40th year, more noble requests began to spring up from here and there. They were requests related to things like social justice, politics, and human rights. People have said that getting involved in those things would make us a church that is like a church.
Sinek summed up the reason why the Millennials have come to have such attributes in about four things. Among them, the first was because of their parents. That their parents have treated them too special. Consequently, these Millennials grew up, being told by their parents that they were either geniuses or unique beings different from the ordinary.
In fact, during their course of growing up, their parents, according to their own expectations, did not hesitate to get involved in all details, from their children’s school carrier to overall school life. They treated their children dearly. Later on, the mums would even visit their children’s work place making sure their children were treated and positioned properly.
The first thing such Millennials collide into as their first come out to the world, is the wall called reality. They discover themselves who have to run to their mums, with themselves incapable of solving even little things in their lives. It is shocking to the parents too. They thought their children were geniuses but now they have turned out to be just ordinary individuals who find it hard even to look after their own lives.
It is similar with the church. We wished to fulfil noble and highly esteemed ideals in mission, evangelising, relieving and helping the poor, social justice or politics – but they were all in words and slogans only; actually there is not much we can do as a church.
Maybe this kind of outcome is, as Sinek says, due to the parents. ‘Bad-parenting’, so called. We have been told too often and too much that our church is so special and has excellent capability.
In Matthew 8, we see how Jesus talks about what it means to follow Him. One of the disciples requested, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Then Jesus answered, “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.”
By requesting that he may go and bury his dead father, the disciple is asking for a permission that he may fulfil his last duty he needed to do as man. This is also the kind of request the Millennials put forward as they come out to the world. They say they wish to do nobles things as man.
But, for one thing, this particular disciple puts forward his request in public and by that he publicises himself as one who at least honours his parents, and therefore follow the Law of God. Just as the Millennials say to the world, ‘we want free food and bean bags’.
But what does Jesus say to him? “Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.” What does it mean? Jesus is saying ‘that is not for you to say’. Burying the dead as the last dutiful work of man? – is it not rather what everyone has to do.
Jesus said ‘let the dead’ do such things. He is saying that those are not the things church should do now to be a church; nor are they things for the Millennials to be proud of having done, as the antagonists of this age. Preparing free food for those in need? Burying the parents? They are the things everyone should do as man. They are the things people should naturally do, just as they are people who are naturally to die.
This is not to say that we should lead a Christian life, notwithstanding giving up all basic things we should be doing as man. Rather, He is urging us to discover our true self, new self; not staying back in the expectations and views of our parent generation.
Now is the point of time where our parents born in the Baby Boom age are retiring. The succeeding generation who will take over from them, namely, the Millennial Generation is entering onto the stage. This new generation must not remain as the product of the previous generation. That is hardly the point why our parents brought us up so dearly.
From the age of three, we grew up, being told, ‘you are a genius’, ‘you are so unique’, or ‘you are born to be loved’. But does that make us geniuses now? Are we so noble? Are we still ones that have to be loved?
In 1Kings 19, you see how Elijah selects Elisha as his successor. Elijah’s days come to pass, then come the days of Elisha. Elisha is said to be ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him. Meaning that Elisha was grown up enough to carry out such a task. – Ploughing the field, driving 24 oxen.
When the prophet Elijah appeared before him, Elisha, the next prophet-to-be, said to Elijah, “Let me kiss my father and my mother,” meaning ‘let me say good bye to them’. Just as the disciples who said to Jesus ‘let me go and bury my father’. Implying that such is the least thing he should do, if he is to become a prophet or a student prophet.
But what does the predecessor prophet Elijah say to that Elisha? “Go back! What have I done to you?” ‘What are the things I have done for you? Go back?’ ‘How have I brought you up? Now return!’ This is what the parent Elijah says to the next generation Elisha as he inherits the position. ‘If there’s anything I have done for you, Turn away from it.’
When the Millennial Elisha was to become the next generation leader succeeding the Baby Boomers, Elisha requested that the work of the Spirit to be given double portioned onto him. This is the request of the Millennials. Having this confound request from Elisha, Elijah says ‘that is a difficult thing.’
As it had been for Elijah, in fact, the Millennials, as the next generation, have to have a double portion of the Spirit compared to their parent generation; have to build nobler, greater, more righteous history than them. But to make it actually happen is a difficult thing even for the parent generation Elijah.
For it to come true, his disciple and Millennial Elisha has to turn away from what the Baby Boomer Elijah has poured out for his child. He has to stand independent of the protection, the care, the love. He has to go back to reality.
What did Elisha do when he woke up and came back? He slaughtered two oxen from the 24 he had. And He burned the ploughing equipment to boil the meat and gave it to the people. - That can be called ‘free food’. This was all he could do. Not some kind of world evangelisation, salvation, restoration of the kingdom, or to do with righteousness or truth – but only he slaughtered and ate two oxen, that was all. This was the reality he had to come back to.
Celebrating the Parent Sunday or Mother’s Day, we say we should honour the parents, and love God. But for that to actually take place, we first should come back to our reality. We need to turn back from the millennial illusion that we are the kind of people who are genuinely interested in things like that and trying to put them into practice.
Only then, we will truly be able to say good bye to our parents and bury our dead. Only then, we will truly be able to accomplish generosity, flexibility, or human rights, justice, equality, freedom, we love to cry out.
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