Imagine this scenario: You are on a ship that is headed toward an iceberg. Although every passenger on the ship has been warned of this danger, most are too caught up in the fun that is happening aboard the ship, on their journey to new lands, or on the overall cares of this life. You and a handful of others are the only ones who have believed the warnings and are pressed with urgency. You start to tell others about the warning, but very few pay any attention—and some even try to silence the warning. After all, it’s crashing their party!
You realize that your entire mindset has changed because of this imminent crisis. You too had been enjoying the physical fun aboard the ship, but suddenly the food, lively entertainment and comfortable quarters don’t mean anything compared to survival.
Disaster looms, and the warning continues. And then, someone comes to you and says, “Because of your support of the vital work of warning, a lifeboat will be secured for you. Not only that, the others on the ship will become so bothered by those repeated warnings that the captain himself will kick you off the ship into that lifeboat!”
Now, being kicked off a ship that is destined to sink isn’t so bad, is it?
You probably can quickly pick up the parallels and symbolism in the scenario above. Our Israelite nations today are a ship heading toward disaster, and we are the only ones who are awake to the imminent danger. Although we support the warning message God delivers through His prophet, few listen (Ezekiel 33:31-33). The persecution against us will intensify to the point where the leadership of this land we call home will actually kick us out of our own country (Amos 7:12, Isaiah 16:2-4)! All of this will be according to God’s plan. He has provided a way of escape for us because we do His Work—a place of safety where we will be protected from the coming horrors of war (Revelation 12:14). We are the only ones who are truly listening to God’s warning and trying to get that trumpet-blowing warning across to the world. And teens, you have a direct responsibility and opportunity to help God and His chosen servant trumpet a certain sound (1 Corinthians 14:8).
Know the Father
Nobody knows God the Father except for us. The Apostle John talks about that in 1 John 2:13—“I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.” This is not written to any father or teen or child in the world. It is written for the fathers and mothers and teens and children in this Church! We are privileged to know the Father.
Verse 14 continues, “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” You can be strong godly teens—and why? Because God’s Word abides in you. God’s Word makes you strong, motivated, and very much a part of this warning Work. And who are you able to overcome in the process? The wicked one! Satan the devil, the one who is seeking to devour you. Don’t underestimate the power of Satan or how much he wants to destroy you. The wicked one and his grisly deeds are real! There is a wicked one, but there is also a God who is providing you a lifeboat.
ALL Hands on Deck
The Oxford Dictionary defines the phrase “all hands on deck” as meaning, “Immediate effort of all, especially in an emergency.” Notice—it says all. On a ship, that phrase doesn’t mean only the experienced seamen, the ones who have had years of practice and know the ship like the back of their hands. It means everyone. For us, this phrase doesn’t just mean the converted hands. God needs your help, teens! He needs you to step up and participate. So many posts within God’s Work over the past 80-plus years have been abandoned by converted members who turned Laodicean.
Look around for opportunities to serve and help God’s Work. When we tie our goals into helping others, we automatically grow in return. When we tie our goals into helping God’s Work, God says that He will cover us in the shadow of His hand (Isaiah 51:16). Isn’t that a beautiful, encouraging phrase? God promises to protect us if we answer that rallying cry—“All hands on deck!” We are nearing the end of this age, and we need to work hard to finish the job that God has given us to do. There isn’t much time left!
We have been given so much revelation, so much knowledge. We have a responsibility to remain loyal to God. We have a responsibility to make His Work our work. Considering all the love and protection He gives to us, we have a responsibility to share His solutions with humanity! He is the only one who knows how the ship can avoid the iceberg. You have a responsibility to God, your parents, the ministry and this Church to stay the course, to jump into the Work with both feet, and commit fully to this way of life. All hands on deck!
Do YOUR Part
So what can you young people do to support God’s warning message? How can you answer this rallying cry?
First of all, pray. You have been getting a lot of instruction recently on how to properly structure your prayer life, and how to follow the end-time Elijah’s example of prayer. Study your Bible, and learn about the prophecies that are being fulfilled almost every day—and then watch world events with this Bible prophecy perspective. Make sure you are tithing properly—and don’t forget freewill offerings. You may not have much to give, but it’s the attitude that counts to God. Remember the widow’s mite. God will bless you if you give cheerfully and with a willing heart. Ask God to give you His excitement for every activity He sponsors in His Church. Be a youthful pillar in your congregation—set the example as a godly young person. If you go to public school or have a job in the world, your peers should know you are different.
To stay focused and motivated in God’s Work, we need to keep seeing the joy and happiness through the pressure and tests to come. Your place on the lifeboat is not the end goal. As Herbert W. Armstrong told the Worldwide Church of God repeatedly, we are not here to save ourselves or get salvation. We have a responsibility to warn—and in the future, we will have a responsibility to teach. That is why we were called out from this world now—to support this warning Work and to learn so that we can teach in the future.
In The Key of David, Gerald Flurry wrote, “The key of David vision represents God’s plan for all mankind. It is not just for the adults of God’s Church; it is a message also for the youth. ‘With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever’ (Psalm 45:15-17).
“Even though our youth are not yet baptized, God’s Philadelphia ministers must teach them by example and with words that they are royalty now. Verse 16 shows they will be taking over royal positions in the Millennium. God’s ministry must begin now to help shape our young people into princes and princesses—God’s royal youth! We must help our young people get the key of David vision into their minds.”
As times get worse, don’t forget that vision of the Millennium. Read Zechariah 8:3—“Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.” Christ is returning very soon to make Jerusalem His Headquarters! That is a wonderful vision and a beautiful hope that we must never forget.
Verse 5 talks about how “the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets” of God’s Headquarters. This could be talking about your future children! How much do you want to see your children playing in the streets of God’s beautiful, peaceful headquarters city? Really think about this vision of the future. It is marvelous—extraordinary—as verse 6 says. It will keep you from getting discouraged.
Sure, we are going to get kicked into that lifeboat very soon, as Amos 7 talks about. Our nation and the other Israelite nations will go into captivity. But after the Great Tribulation trial and the Day of the Lord, some of them will remain—the great multitude—and God will gather them back to Him (verses 7-8). The warning that you support now along with your parents will have a direct impact on those people’s repentance during the Tribulation and their protection and preservation during the Day of the Lord.
“And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.” What a wonderful future God has in mind for those people! And the amazing part of all of this is that you will have a far, far more exalted reward because of how you support the Work today. God is preparing you to be built into His spiritual temple forever. He is offering you a firstfruit’s reward. Is there anything more valuable than that?