In June of 2009 I had the unique privilege of co-leading an intergenerational trip to Israel. This was truly an amazing experience! We spent one week in Palestine living with Palestinian Christians learning from today’s Living Stones (1 Peter 2:5) as well as doing ministry work in and around Bethlehem. The second week we walked The Land visiting many of the historical sites of the Bible. In our small team of 14 people, we had an age range of 18-55 – truly intergenerational and for some it was a father/son husband/wife ‘shared experience’. Amazing!
During our 17 days in Israel and Palestine, we stayed in many homes and hotels. In more cases than not, there was a Mezuzah on the doorframe. What is a Mezuzah? Here is the definition from Wikipedia:
A mezuzah (Hebrew: מְזוּזָה "doorpost") (plural: mezuzot (מְזוּזוֹת)) is a piece of parchment (often contained in a decorative case) inscribed with specified Hebrew verses from the Torah (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21). These verses comprise the Jewish prayer "Shema Yisrael", beginning with the phrase: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One"
A mezuzah is affixed to the doorframe of every room apart from the bathroom in Jewish homes to fulfill the mitzvah (Biblical commandment) to inscribe the words of the Shema "on the doorposts of your house" (Deuteronomy 6:9). Some interpret Jewish law to require a mezuzah on every doorway in the home apart from bathrooms, and closets too small to qualify as rooms; others view it as necessary only to place one in the front doorway. The parchment is prepared by a qualified scribe (a "sofer stam") who has undergone many years of meticulous training, and the verses are written in black indelible ink with a special quill pen. The parchment is then rolled up and placed inside the case.
When I came to the understanding of the Mazuzah I was compelled to purchase one of these special cases and hang the Mezuzah on the door frame of my home. It’s a powerful reminder to me and my family that we are marked with the blood of Jesus Christ. That the Lord our God is one – there is no other. It reminds me that I am to be a witness for Him every time I leave my home and enter the world. Do people know that I am a sinner SAVED by GRACE that can only be found in Jesus Christ! My kids are starting to understand what it means that our house is a home that is focused on Jesus Christ. Every time they come and go through that door – which is often in one day – they are reminded of Jesus Christ and what HE did!
As a youth worker, what is your Mezuzah? What is your reminder that Jesus Christ is your Saviour? When your youth see you outside the four walls of your church – what do they see? Can they tell by your actions, talk and composure that you are property bought by the blood of Jesus Christ? When you think they aren’t watching, you need to be reminded of Deut 6:4-9. It's more than a matter of integrity! It’s a matter of you being called the Son or Daughter of the Creator!
Please do not take your role as a youth worker lightly. It’s not just something you stumbled into by chance. It’s a high calling placed on your life for such a time as this! (Esther 4:14) You have the amazing privilege of speaking in the lives of youth, and through the working of the Holy Spirit, are being used in the transformation process. As a youth worker you need to raise the bar and proclaim that youth ministry is your calling and it’s not a stepping stone to being a lead pastor.
So what is your reminder of your high calling from Jesus Christ – to proclaim to the youth you’re working with day in and day out that The Lord YOUR God is ONE? That’s undeniable truth! The Jewish people have the Mezusah! What do you have?