Are you, young people? Do you feel uncomfortable in society and in special meetings which are held in the church? As soon as the meeting begins, do you wish it were over already? Or do you possibly try to find all kinds of excuses for not attending those meetings? Are you “bored to tears”? How do you plead, guilty or not guilty? If it is the former, just stay sitting in that comfortable chair and finish this article.
You know why I ask these questions, don’t you? You’ve heard the roll called in your society. Possibly there are 75 or 80, or even 90% “Here,” but where are the rest? Are they home, sick in bed? Come now, let’s put that on the bottom of the list of “reasons for being absent.” More than likely they’re bored and have found a good excuse for “skipping.” Maybe the basketball game is too good to miss. Possibly there is an interesting program that night. Or else it may just be a good night to stay home once. If I missed your favorite excuse, just add it to the list.
“Oh,” but you shout, “it’s no wonder we become bored. No one talks in society and they always put the same people on the programs.” Don’t get excited, and just settle back in that comfortable chair again. Now, before we start blaming everyone else, let’s first talk about you. When was the last time you spent an hour or two studying the Bible outlines in preparation for the society discussion? You’re too busy, or it requires too much work? You mean to say you don’t study at all before coming to society? Then please do not blame anyone but yourself for your boredom. Or do you study and then come to society to see if the chairman can pry a word or two from you? Of course, blaming others is the easiest way out. But don’t you think that there is just a wee little bit of a possibility that your actions, or rather lack of them, may be the cause of the boredom of others?
“To bore,” says Webster, “is to weary by tedious iteration or dullness, or by forcing one’s presence upon another.” You must admit that when young people get together, it is not normal that they become bored. They have too much to talk about and too much to do. They are so full of life that one has to try to slow them down rather than prod them on. Notice once at a basketball game how they cheer and shout. They don’t really care how their voice will sound tomorrow as long as it holds out tonight. And it certainly is abnormal to find a young person who doesn’t know what to do. He always has new plans and new ideas to carry out tomorrow. And did you ever notice how young people just can’t keep from talking? There’s not a moment of silence. Anything and everything is open for discussion.
What happens then in society when many of these same young people don’t utter a word? Those young people, who can’t be kept quiet otherwise, now seem to have lost the power of speech. What is wrong? What can the matter be? Surely, one would think, covenant young people will find their most fruitful and free discussions in the Word of God itself. Yet that does not always seem to be true. I think that there are at least three reasons which might explain the source of trouble. Read them once and see if one or more are not true in your case.
In the first place, there is very often too much emphasis on all kinds of other activities. It’s just the nature of the young person to desire to be active and doing things. For that very reason it is often difficult to sit down quietly for several hours to study and discuss the Word of God. Is that possibly why you don’t come to society or come unprepared? You understand, I give this as a reason why such things occur, not as an excuse. We as young Christians are also pilgrims and strangers on this earth. The end or goal of our life is not pleasure and enjoyment. That doesn’t mean that we cannot have fun, but that also in our fun we must glorify God. And we should consider it a blessed duty to set aside time to study the Word of God.
Secondly, one often does not discuss because he fears his presentation might be wrong. You’ll have to admit that yourself. After all, what a boring discussion that would be if what everyone said was 100% correct. The purpose of a discussion is to present all the various possibilities and then to determine, if possible, which is correct. So what, if that which you say is wrong? Then you have added your bit to the discussion – and that is the important thing.
In the third place, there is (do you dare to admit it about yourself?) a fear to speak of things religious. That seems to be especially true among the young people. We can talk about everything else under the sun, but when God and His wonderful work among His people is mentioned, then we shut up as tight as a clam. Why? Possibly it is because of a false sense of that which is religious. We feel unworthy to speak concerning such a worthy subject. We may think that it is rather presumptuous to talk about the Almighty God. Or maybe we feel we do not know enough about His Word to warrant our discussion about that Word. Shame on us, young people, if this is truly the case. Has He not wrought through Christ the wonder of wonders in our hearts? And are we then going to be afraid of talking about that? How can we possibly dare to keep silent?
Just stay in that easy chair a few minutes more; I’m not finished yet. You don’t want to be bored anymore? That’s fine? You should be able to find a way to prevent it. First of all, and I should not need to repeat it, it is absolutely necessary to study diligently the lesson to be discussed. Don’t say you have no time, don’t say it’s too hard; make time and do it. You do not know how to study? Then by all means get your October Beacon Lights, turn to page 11, and read “A Word of Explanation” by the Rev. H. C. Hoeksema. It should not be necessary to remind you that you should do more than merely read it. After you have formed your opinions, make it a point to discuss them in society. And don’t come with that flimsy excuse that you’re afraid to talk in a larger group. That you may have that fear, I do not deny, but you must make every attempt to overcome it. How? Why not try this? At your next meeting, without special urging from the chairman, speak at least once about some point in your lesson. The following week try it twice. Then three times. And be sure you do not give up after two or three weeks. Before long the chairman will have his hands full trying to keep everyone from talking at once. And when you go to society, don’t ever say to yourself, “Oh, another boring night ahead.” Go there with the purpose of learning something and I am sure you are nevermore going to be “bored to tears” again.
Another thing: every eligible (and I mean those within the constitutional age limits) person in your church should be member of the society. A profitable meeting can be held with only five or even less members. But there is always a feeling of incompleteness if you know that there are some in your church who could be members but are not.
Never, never refuse to take part in the program either. I’m afraid that is why you so often are bored. You do not feel yourself a part of that particular meeting. I know, you don’t think yourself capable, and you feel that you will detract rather than add to any program. Yet that is not true, and you know it. If everyone is willing to take the part assigned to them, then we will have some lively meetings in the future. And you can be sure, no one is going to be bored.
Finally, you can get out of that soft chair now and do something about this. Don’t just lay aside this magazine and forget about all these things. Otherwise, come next society meeting, you are going to be bored again. Be diligent, be faithful, and you are going to enjoy your society.
We’ll be seeing and hearing you at your next society meeting!