On Monday night of Higher Calling Conference, a missions-focused conference held annually by Korea Campus Crusade for Christ, Pastor Eugene Cho of Quest Church gave a message about the need to be the light in our communities. As someone who believes in young people and their importance in the church today, Cho came to encourage the students attending the conference.
He started off his message with, “My task tonight is to speak to you about missions, faith, and community, but to focus on community. What does it mean for us to live out and exemplify light in the midst of community?” He began to answer this question through Luke 5:17-20, in which Jesus heals a paralytic brought over by his faithful friends, and explained how we need to take action the way these friends did.
In this passage, Jesus was preaching and people from all over were crowded into the house, listening to his message. Some men were trying to bring a paralytic to Jesus, but it was so crowded that they could not reach Him. So they went up to the roof and lowered the paralytic right in front of Jesus. Pastor Cho focused on six characteristics of these friends that Christians could adopt in order to a light in their community.
The first was a spirit of action: that rather than sitting around and talking about doing something, they actually did something about the problem.
The second was a spirit of faith: these friends “must have heard this [gospel] message in such a powerful way that they believed that they could not keep this message to themselves,” and shared it with the paralytic.
The third was a spirit of compassion: we need to care about the problems of the world, just as these friends cared about the paralytic.
Fourth was a spirit of collaboration: the friends were carrying the paralytic on the mat together. As Cho aptly quoted a proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Next was the spirit of perseverance: “We might be the generation that lacks perseverance,” he stated. “But these friends weren’t willing to quit. They were tenacious.” Through their perseverance, they were able to bring their friend to Jesus.
Lastly was the spirit of creativity: When they couldn’t push through the crowd, they thought outside of the box and lowered their friend through the roof.
Cho encouraged those of the younger generation to learn to listen to God in the midst of the chaos of voices in the world.
“There’s so much noise and clutter in this world, so many voices trying to influence thoughts and minds,” Cho said during an interview. “It’s a marketplace. We need to learn to listen to God, not the other voices, to make space to hear God in prayer and community, to find the space to intentionally hear God. [Also], be tenacious and don’t quit. Just because there are so many choices doesn’t give us an excuse to quit. If we choose a course, let’s stick with it.”
Higher Calling Conference is a four-day conference that took place in San Diego, CA from December 21 to 24 to encourage youth and college students to live missionally in their daily lives, and to pursue the higher calling of being a light and living for God’s kingdom. Other speakers of the conference included Pastor Jim-Bob Park of Oriental Mission Church; Greg Stier from Dare2Share Ministries; and Dong Whan Kim, the director of Korea Campus Crusade for Christ USA.
Irene Kim is a volunteer student writer from University of California, San Diego.