By Alistair van Heerden
After concerns were expressed about the dwindling of our rich Afrikaner heritage, the Solidarity Helping Hand Youth Congress this past weekend really impressed me. The congress is a step in the right direction to rediscover and develop our rich Afrikaner culture.
We can summarize the congress nicely in three words: grounded, time and work.
Helping Hand addresses three types of poverty: physical, cultural and spiritual poverty, the most important of which is spiritual poverty, because the physical and cultural really mean nothing without the spiritual.
Without the spiritual, everything is in vain. We must not confuse the spiritual that Helping Hand speaks of with the world’s various idolatries. We must understand well that the spiritual poverty that is addressed is that of the Christian faith. It was characteristic of the congress how each speaker addressed the youth directly from the Bible, or by means of principles from the Bible.
The congress indicates very well that the youth of today must be grounded in the faith. A true faith that trusts in the Lord and the promises He makes. The God we serve is only the Only Lord as we read in 1 Timothy 2:5: “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus”.
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ brings salvation to everyone who believes, but so does dedication, zeal and a sense of calling for the Lord’s kingdom. Without this truth the congress would be worth nothing.
But no, the Youth Action of Pretoria understood that being grounded in faith is critical if we, as young people, want to build a future for our generation and future generations. This is how the covenant works in the Bible. The Lord’s promises remain throughout the generations, and if we base the work we do in the Lord and do it to the glory of the Lord, there will be a richer inheritance for our children.
A time like this, this is what we are called to. Our time is not 10 years back, nor is it 10 years from now. We, the young people, are called for a time like this.
Time for us young people is very important, because time on earth feels so long to us, yet it is not. We move through various phases in the early years of our lives. Elementary school to high school to university to our first job. On a personal level it is the same; we have several romantic relationships and then one lasting relationship and then engagement and then marriage and then children, and so it goes with all of us.
Few of us realize it, but time is much more than just the clock that keeps moving forward. Time has several important facets. One of them was highlighted very nicely during the congress, namely vocation. The Bible says that time and calling are linked, even if it feels like it shouldn’t be.
We read in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 the repeating words: “A time to”, and this speaks to the idea that there is a time and season for every activity under heaven. As a Christian, this indicates that God has a plan and purpose for every phase of your life. Therefore, it applies to us as young people. We now have a calling that we receive from the Lord. Here we must not get down to earth and think it is to completely solve poverty or to save the Afrikaans language.
The vocation of every young, believing African, man and woman, at this time is to bring all glory to the Lord. This may include promoting Afrikaans or reducing poverty and so on. We are called for our time.
The last point of the congress flows very nicely from the previous two points. We have already shown that if you are grounded in the faith, then you will understand your calling in our time. But what you will also understand is work, to get up and do. The Afrikaner cry of our disintegrating country has become – we will ourselves!
This attitude of work and doing, we heard during the congress, naturally occurs among young people because they grew up in a country where nothing worked, therefore the younger generation is used to doing things themselves. That’s all well and good, but we mustn’t get lazy.
We must not make the mistake of wanting to do everything alone and want to stand and brag about it. We must understand that believing young people are connected together by faith and do not stand alone. We stand together, we are a community that promotes Christian values, speaks Afrikaans, and preserves our culture. We have to work for that. We cannot sustain this beautiful community if we do not work together.
We read very well in Colossians 3:23-24 what our attitude should be, which takes us back to the core, to our foundation: “Whatever you do, work with zeal, as for the Lord, and not as for men not, in the knowledge that you will receive an inheritance as a reward from the Lord; for you are in the service of the Lord Christ.”
It is very characteristic that the cry goes – “we will ourselves” and not – “I will myself”.
There are the very famous words of “The song of Young South Africa”, I want to end with these words. One day I want to be able to ask the onlookers of our younger generation: “And do you hear the mighty rumble? What comes floating wide over the field: the song of a people’s awakening, which makes hearts shudder and tremble”.
- Alistair van Heerden is a theological student at the Theological School Potchefstroom.