In Proverbs chapter seven King Solomon narrates a terrifying event for his son. He describes a young man making his way down to a prostitute’s house and the enticements she employs to snare him until suddenly the story abruptly ends with this verse: “…an arrow struck his liver…he did not know it would cost his life.” A new generation is on the cusp of graduating from high school and stepping out into the wide world full of hopes and dreams for their future. These young people are anxious to make their mark on the world through different avenues such as a college degree, opening their own business, writing, acting, professional sports and so many other ways. Sadly in the next year or two, many of them will end up like the young man in Proverbs, on a path they did not know would cost them their life. The families of these students will bear the grief and sorrow of watching them like King Solomon watched the young man out his window. 

There has to be a way to save them from this demise, you may be pondering, and you are correct. As the Bible is prone to say, “He (she) who has ears, let him (her) listen…” (Matthew 11:15) Listening well has become rare amongst the abundance of written and spoken words across every platform. But for those who will choose to listen, there are words that will bring fruitfulness and prosperity to, not only our high school graduates, but to everyone in a way that money or fame, education, and sports will not. The Bible is heavy on discipleship, mentorship, parenting, and the older generations teaching the younger generations (Titus 2). Truthfully, these are celebrated in our world until the Bible becomes part of the equation. Biblical truth is scorned as outdated and restrictive, as well as anti-cultural and yet Scripture offers the true peace and happiness in Jesus Christ, the world is blindly clamoring for.  

I live in Michigan where Open House Season is real! It is our sixth season sandwiched in between our normally one week of spring and the beginning of summer. (What is the fifth season you ask? Sprinter, the delightful season of mud and cold between winter and spring.) Michiganders plan their lives around Open Houses during this season. Those hosting the Open Houses plan it so no one misses out and you can spend your Saturdays in June moving from one to the next with ease and arrive back home with a belly full of homemade cinnamon rolls, pulled pork, taco bar, fluff salad, and strawberry pretzel. At each event the highschool Senior greets his or her guests with a radiant smile and positivity as they reflect on their past accomplishments and dream about their futures. Scholarships, elite college names, and majors are scattered throughout their conversations. It is a day full of celebration, envelopes of money, and cards with wisdom for their future. For many it feels like the first day of their life and they stand confident like Frodo and Samwise Gamgee ready to take on the journey!

What are the events that take place between the full ride scholarships and “concrete” plans to work for the FBI and the unexpected pregnancy or another hangover? In all my years of Open House going, not once has a high school Senior told me of their plans to throw away their scholarships for the sake of an abusive relationship that ends in pregnancy or getting kicked off the football team for excessive drinking or drug use. So how is it that, in too many cases, one year later these bright, talented, on track students come home haggard, enslaved, and feeling like there is no hope? They didn’t listen and put to good use the biblical wisdom given to them by their parents, pastor, or mentor. They traded in the Bible for the enticements of the world. In many cases, their own peers warned them of the dangerous path they were veering off to. And their loved ones watched helplessly like King Solomon from the window, praying for a miracle. They didn’t know what they didn’t know. 

Hindsight is better than foresight plays itself out regularly in all our lives. As we embark on yet another generation stepping out into the world, there are two things that are paramount, biblical wisdom must be given and received. It is the only way to not only survive the journey but to thrive!

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