I have always been a huge fan of this passage. I suppose that, being young(er) myself, I have always clung to it for strength when I felt led to speak up. I have also used it to encourage others in situations when they may have felt timid about letting their voices be heard. In fact, I often teach this scripture to the middle school students in my Sunday school class. I believe they need to understand that they have something to offer God's kingdom, no matter how young they are.
While I usually assume everything I say goes in one ear and out the other, I was recently blindsided by their direct application of this verse. We were having a discussion about the state of the modern Church, and the students were asked whether or not they thought our church was in line with the mission of the early church. As the students were pondering their responses, I was doing the same.
I immediately prepared my soap box and got ready to start going off about how selfish we have become and how far we have gotten away from the core of what it means to evangelize and be a part of a community of believers. I waited for the students to talk, and it seemed as though they were going to sit that one out. I sat up, cleared my throat, and prepared to spout off with my cynical opinions.
About that time, one after another, they started talking about everything our church does that matches up with the book of Acts. They talked about baptism, worship, and fellowship. They discussed outreach projects that help to meet the needs of our community. They spoke about the basic elements of Christian fellowship as if they were in a seminary class. They completely changed my mind about the question, and left me speechless.
I sat back in my chair, took a breath, and commented to my co-teacher that I had nothing more to add. I was blown away by not only their knowledge and insight, but by the conviction with which they spoke. It was an amazing 5-10 minutes that I pray we can re-live each Sunday morning.
I guess we all could use a reminder every now and then, even of the things we fully believe in.