We, as a generation, accept that you see us the way you want to see us. You label us in the simplest terms. You call us ignorant, self-seeking, and unmotivated. You tell us we're irresponsible for not voting enough or not caring about the world enough. You tell us that we're a generation of rebels who look after nothing but our own interest. You pay millions of dollars every year to find out what we want in technology and how to best sell it to us, but when it comes to something bigger, you count us out.
We accept that you see us the way you want to see us.
We do not, however, accept your labels.
This week, I had the privelege to witness 45,000 college students descend on the city of Atlanta for the Passion 2012 conference and break apart every label that you could throw at them. They walked for miles in the cold to stand in lines and have the opportunity to lift up the name of Jesus.
They're crazy you say. Just a bunch of college hippies. A bunch of religious freaks. Maybe. But just when you had comforted yourself by saying that they just came to stand around and sing to God, they broke more of your labels.
They did something.
This generation that you complain about saying that we're uneducated and unaware, did something about the problems you love to sit around and talk about. We're a generation that has always known 24-hour news. We hear about the problems of the world all day, everyday. We hear your correspondants standing in the middle of broken places asking "what can be done?" We understand what a broken world looks like.
We did something.
Throughout the week, we were asked to give to end the horror of modern slavery. They asked us to raise $1 million. They told us stories that represented 27 million modern slaves. Then they asked us to give. We know you're broke college students they said. We know that you scrounge around in the sofa cushions looking for pizza money, but we will never count your generation out. They asked us to give.
Not only did a bunch of broke college students give, they did so happily. They stood in thousand people deep lines to give.
So what happens when a bunch of religious, college hippies get behind a cause? What happens when a generation says they will do something now?
They break through your labels.
This generation was not satisfied with giving $1 million. Instead, they gave $3 million to local and international causes. Suddenly, you start to perk up. Suddenly, you start to notice this generation a little more.
The Mayor of Atlanta Kasim Reed and the Leutinant Govenor of Georgia Casey Cagel noticed this generation. These broke college students said they horrified that one of the worst places for human trafficing was not in some foregin country but in Atlanta, Georgia. These students wanted to do something about it. In giving $100,000 to fund a new special victims task force, these students were saying that we were not going to stand by and let this injustice happen.
Beyond giving, these students awknoledged the brokenness of the world. They did something more than just give.
They prayed for a broken and dying world. They prayed for mercy. They prayed for healing.They prayed for resoration.
Just a phase you say. Their enthusiasm will die down when they're not surrounded by 45,000 of their friends. Maybe for some that's true. However, if there is one thing that we should come away with from witnessing this, it's to not count this generation out.
You see us how you want to see us. We chose to do something.
You want to know the most surprising thing? Every single one of the 45,000 students will tell you that really, we didn't do anything. We are selfish. We are incapable. Do you remember why I said these students were in Atlanta in the first place?
To lift up the name of Jesus.
On our own, we are incapable. We are selfish.
We are ineffecitve.
When we lift up the name of Jesus and through the power of the Holy Spirit,
we do something.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they wereuneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.