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Do you ever have it where things don’t always reflect reality? Well, I just did and it brought things back to the harsh reality of life.

With the ministry position with Youth Unlimited, my family and I moved to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada to take up residence. It was an exciting move for my little family five – including a two-month-old. One thing we knew when moving to Ontario (this is our second time moving to Ontario from BC) was that our vehicle needed to have a safety inspection before we could get new, shiny Ontario license plates.

With this in mind we came prepared. We took our 2002 Chevy Venture to our friendly neighborhood mechanic to have a once going over. Overall, things looked pretty good. We just needed to get the back wiper working again and all 4 fan speeds up and running. Other than that, it was in prime shape, looked good, still had a shine to the finish — well as much as a 2002 can. We even clean out the gunk that builds up in the cup holder! It was our goal to pick up the van in Toronto and have it looking like new — If I may say so myself, that mission was accomplished.

The day came when I brought the van in to get its safety certificate and its emissions test done. I thought this was going to be a quick in and out with the mechanic. I know, I should have known better. The cell phone rings and it’s our trusted mechanic. He started out by telling us the van passed the emission test with no problems but … Here goes: the wheel bearings are loose, cracks in the brake disks … Yes, this came as quite the surprise — almost a $1,000 later the van received its safety certificate. This really was a case where things looked better on the outside than it did on the inside. It took someone in the know, a mechanic, to realize that.

This got me thinking about some of the youth that I worked with over the last number of years. I assumed things were good — they said the right things, looked good and some even did Profession of Faith. But in all reality, their faith in Jesus Christ was not as good as what the outside made it appear.

When the truth came out about the van some people questioned if we should fix it. They suggested to just get rid of it. When the truth came out about certain young people, people said they were hopeless and suggested I focus my attention on others. Interesting perspective. Perhaps instead of changing our focus to another youth in our ministry we should hone in and begin the process of repairing and see this person through the lens of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When I pick up our van the mechanic mentioned that the van is actually in pretty good shape for a 2002 and if we take care of it we should have it for many years to come. It is my prayer that you will have the same results with your youth who may look good on the outside but need a little repair on the inside.

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