A few nights ago we received another four or so inches of snow. The snow covered everything – driveways, rooftops, and trees. It was spectacular and looked like someone had scattered diamonds across the yard! But as you walked outside and felt the bitter embrace of a -11° C day with winds that made it feel closer to -20° C, I couldn’t help but think about how in a few months the cold will pass and we will feel the warmth of the summer sun. The snow will melt, buds will form, and we will eventually see green leaves on the trees that come with the promise of growth.
This truly is winter for Coldwater. We have been busy planning and preparing for the coming year and know that in a few short months we will finally meet our 2017 participants. We will witness first hand the new buds of learning and growth start to take shape and finally emerge in their lives. However, right now it is winter and that spectacular morning a few days ago made me think about diamonds and how similar the process of refining diamonds is to that of our work with young people.
Diamonds, created by extremely high temperature and pressure, are mined from the earth and emerge as dirty stones with sometimes only a hint of inner beauty. Once extracted a diamond is cut before it is buffed and polished, becoming something beautiful. Each diamond is cut and refined in a way unique to its internal makeup. This refining process is sometimes precise and delicate; other times forceful and challenging.
We believe that the same is true with young people. God has created young people as his masterpiece (Eph. 2:10) and has given each young person gifts that could shine out like radiant diamonds, bringing Christ’s light to a dark world (John 12:46, Mt. 5:13-14). Our work with each student varies depending upon their story, phase of life, and unique gifting. For some, we help them discover that despite what they have been told, they have gifts, and these gifts can be used to make a difference and bring light. With others, our work is more that of chiselling and polishing, helping them refine their gifts and position themselves to be of better use for Christ where they live. We create opportunities for discovery, roles leading to learning, and space for people to encounter Christ. Any growth that happens is because of the work of the Holy Spirit.
We are motivated by the possibility of what could happen if a generation of young leaders, who are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10), children of God (John 1:12), who are created to do good works and are no longer living for themselves but for Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) are unchained and released to do the good things He has created them to do (Eph. 2:10). The light and sparkle of the lives of these students would greatly overshadow the brilliance of a field of diamonds on new fallen snow.
Questions for reflection:
-What gifts has God given me that could be brought out and refined?
-What steps am I taking to refine and use my gifts?
-How could I be of greater use in the place that I live?