Summer is here, school is out, vacations are beginning, and we seem to set a different pace in our daily living. For the most part, societies have recessed until the fall along with catechism classes and similar means of instruction. Many of you young people will take on summer jobs in order to pay for tuition, or do with a view to marriage and its accompanying responsibilities. But because of this recess from many meetings which are geared for our spiritual up-building, there is the danger that we forget that wonderful heritage that we have. It is with this in mind that the Beacon Lights’ staff has asked me to write on our holding fast to this heritage in our use of the summer months.
As young people, we certainly have a heritage. The basic idea of the term heritage is, in the first place, that of a possession. Thus, in the Bible, the land of Canaan is the heritage or possession of God’s people. Israel. In turn, God’s people are the heritage of God. Also in the Word of God we find that God’s people possess God’s righteousness and testimonies as a heritage. In the second place, this possession takes on the characteristics of an inheritance, that which has been passed down and reserved for one. These two aspects of a heritage apply to both our earthly and spiritual life. Our present discussion will limit itself to the spiritual aspect.
That which we have as children of God for a spiritual heritage is the truth of God’s Word as it is contained in the Scriptures. We can read that Word which reveals unto us the Father and His way of salvation for us in Jesus Christ through the operation of the Holy Spirit. That Word preached is God’s power unto salvation for His own. By God’s grace that Word is our heritage, our possession and inheritance. “Thy testimonies have I taken as a heritage forever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart,” Ps. 119:111. This revelation of God has been reserved for us and passed down to us throughout the ages. Adam spoke it unto his sons who in turn passed it down through the generations until Moses wrote it down. Then both the spoken and written tradition was preserved even unto the present day. Indeed it is precious; many have given their life for it. A rich inheritance to us from God.
Moreover, we have a rich heritage in the confessions, the statements of faith of the believing church as she defends and preserves God’s Word. Finally, we have our church, our school, and our parents who teach us God’s Word and the confessions.
This heritage we are to hold fast. One of the Scriptural passages using this idea of holding fast is Hebrews 10:23-25: “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering: (for he is faithful that promises;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” From this passage it is evident that we must retain faithfully that which we possess. Another use of the term is to “keep in one’s memory.” That Word of God which is our rich heritage we must keep in our memory, our possession. A certain direction must be kept and maintained similar to a captain holding a fixed course so that the ship may safely arrive in the harbor.
Now the writer to the Hebrews in the above passage says that we must do this “without wavering.” The profession of our faith has content, our heritage. This we must hold fast, unwaveringly or unbent, never letting it droop so as to spill its contents.
The point of this article is that we must do this, hold fast our heritage, particularly in our use of the summer months. Why the emphasis upon the months of June, July, and August? Let us take a look. How many of our activities are centered around the church or the school? School is out for the summer months so we do not have that daily environment of other young people of like faith studying in a Christian school. In addition, many Young People’s societies recess for the summer months, perhaps to their shame. During this vacuum it is easy to slip away from all church centered activities, including sometimes even church attendance. The point is this: during the summer months it is very easy to spill the contents of our faith, let go of our heritage.
What then can we do to positively strive for the holding fast of our heritage? In the first place, even though societies are not meeting as societies, yet there are other activities during the summer months which are sponsored by our churches or the young people of our churches. Young people like to have fun, and one way to have fun is to have a party. Here young people gather together for various reasons. I live far to the west of the center of most of our church activities and am pastor of a small church which does not have a Young People’s Society, but I can imagine what kind of parties these might be. Swimming parties in someone’s backyard pool or at the beach, singing parties in someone’s basement or family room; the list could go on. How does this help me to hold fast my heritage, you ask? For one thing, you are having your fun with Protestant Reformed young people who confess the same faith and consequently walk according to that faith. If we do not go to these parties, we either are missing out in an opportunity to meet and enjoy one another’s company, or, worse yet, are having fun with those who are not of like faith who will not help you to hold fast but let go and forget. Another benefit of these parties is that young people very often meet their future husband or wife at such gatherings. Young people are of the dating age and when we seek a helpmeet we must seek among those that believe as we believe. So, young people, even though your presence at such parties is not legally binding, yet from a spiritual point of view it is to your spiritual edification. Your presence will reveal that you desire the fellowship of God’s people rather than that of the world. How much better it is to sing together the psalms of David than to go hot-rodding around in the car or to stay at home to watch that mind-deadening television that brings the entertainment of the world.
Secondly, I would like to draw your attention to the climax of all the activities which our young people partake in during the summer months, the Young People’s Convention. Many of you have already attended one or more conventions, but sorry to say, many of you have not. Each young person should make an honest effort to attend. So often we simply do not care whether we go or not which reveals a spiritual weakness in us. Perhaps we are working and would rather make that extra dollar or two. Or maybe we have vacation coming, but who wants to waste it going to the convention? These are two excuses, and there are many more that are added. However, Christ instructs us to first seek the kingdom of heaven. After all, what is our real purpose for living on the earth, for our own enjoyment apart from God, or unto the praise and glorification of His name? Certainly, the answer is obvious.
The Young People’s Convention gives you an opportunity to be instructed in God’s Word by way of lectures and group discussions, and to confess your faith together as young people. Just to see so many young people together of the Protestant Reformed Churches strengthens and encourages us in our faith, to hold fast our heritage. There is also a side benefit in that many of our young people meet their future husband or wife at these conventions. Maybe the eastern young people do not appreciate this since they have so many young people concentrated in one small area, but I can assure you that many from the West look forward to the convention for this very reason, to meet other God-fearing young people that might be their life’s partner.
Perhaps I have rambled on too long. However, we must be encouraged to hold fast our heritage in this day when apostasy is running rampant. The summer months tend to make us less spiritually minded. In that light, I encourage all of you young people to attend the parties where our young people are gathered and most important of all, attend this year’s convention and enjoy yourself while holding fast to our heritage.