The imperative expression which constitutes the title of this article is a very common one. Yet, in connection with the purpose we have in mind for writing these lines, it is a very important and necessary one. For we would emphasize that the great need among Christians today is that there be more exercise of the prophetic office, which together with that of priest and king, has been given us by God to fulfill.
It is apparent that man is inclined to “take it easy” even from his earliest childhood. How often is not the teacher in school or catechism engaged in reminding the pupils to “sit up” when slumped down in their seats? How often must he not call their attention to “stand up” when reciting, etc.
It seems apparent, too, that when we have attained to the age when we may be called “young people”, that even then we must constantly be reminded to “look up”, to, as our title suggests, “SPEAK UP!” Must we be reminded to do this because we are lazy? In very few cases this is the reason. Is it because we are afraid? We question that reason very much since youth is characterized by fearlessness and intrepidity. What then may be the cause? We doubt we are saying too much when we maintain that the chief reason why Christians generally, why Christian youth today, fails to “speak up” is because of the lack of interest in THINGS WORTH SPEAKING ABOUT. By no means do we maintain that Christian youth doesn’t speak. If only the subject of their conversation is business and industry, if it is with regard to sports and recreation youth today is by no means silent. But, should that be the subject of vigorous discussions and conversation? We know better. And the only thing we can do about this situation is that we heed the friendly reproof embodied in our topic, “SPEAK UP”.
What shall we speak about, Youth? We need not search far for the answer. We are Christian youth. We are partakers of Christ and of His blessed anointing. If we then are of Christ, our speech will be characterized, as was His, by speaking about God, His kingdom, His Word—all of Him. In Is. 62, the watchmen are commanded to speak of the Lord. Christ admonishes the healed man to “tell how great things the Lord hath done for thee.” Paul, in his admonitions to the youthful Timothy, warns him to be unashamed of the testimony of the Lord.
This does not mean that the name of God must be used by us in almost every sentence or every other sentence we utter. But this does mean that we speak in connection with all the subjects of our conversation with the color of the beauty of our Lord God gracing our speech.
Shall we try that once, even when we attend the Young People’s Convention this month? If you came from afar, you can speak of the wonderful time you had enjoying the scenery new to your youthful eye. You can converse about your job in the stuffy office or shop there in yonder city, or of your labors on the farm producing the food necessary for human existence. You can speak of your friends and loved ones. And in all you can, no, MUST, season your speech with the salt of the grace of God.
Finally, you can, as Peter tells the church of the dispensation, and in them us, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.” In YOU, Christian youth, there is a hope. Do you ever think of what that really means to you? There is the hope that, while now you must struggle to live not only according to some, but all the commandments of God, the future that awaits you promises the life with God in Christ wherein our service of Him will be a perfect service. I would express the truth even more strongly. In you, PROTESTANT REFORMED YOUTH, there is a hope. It is that hope of glory, yet it is such a strong hope, for it rests upon a God of Whom you have been taught from childhood, that He is sovereign, that He alone gives the victory, that it is He that is the author and finisher of your salvation. Speak up about it then, it indeed is worthwhile. It alone is God-glorifying.
Now the beauty of this calling of speaking up and witnessing for Christ is that one need never be in doubt as to when he must speak. He must do so ALWAYS. This, of course, does not mean that the Christian youth in his endeavor to glorify his Lord by his speech does not use tact and discretion when he carries on a conversation. Solomon, the wise king, spoke of the sweetness of a word spoken in season. There are certainly times and occasions in the life of Christian youth when he must guard lest in his speech he cast goodly pearls before swine. It is even possible that his willingness and enthusiasm to speak concerning things in the light of God and His Word is motivated by sinful pride by which he would show others what really he knows and dare tell someone off. He must be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove.
The home is usually the first and undoubtedly the best place for Christian youth to “speak up”. This also Jesus admonished the man whom He healed, “Go home, and tell thy friends……”
Neither must the Christian youth forget that he has a very important place to fill in the sphere of the church in catechism and society gatherings. In the not too distant future, our societies will again commence. Are you going to “speak up”? You are in the measure that you evaluate properly the spiritual things. These things become important to you in the measure that you study and prepare yourself beforehand. Not all of us will take part even much, yet we should strive to not let our Bible discussions take place among a few in the society. You have no trouble whatsoever speaking about natural special events that happen. You should hear the people spontaneously speak of the slight earthquake we experienced last Saturday evening. It was no effort at all. And why? It was unusual, important. Do so also with things spiritual.
Don’t forget either, the part you take in singing in the public worship on Sunday and elsewhere. What a glorious opportunity to speak when we may sing the songs of Zion. How worthwhile they are!
Thus it should be plain that wherever we are, our calling never is discontinued. It remains. Fulfill it, then.
How about speaking up then, as is our calling? And don’t forget to listen also to worthwhile speech. This is more often easier said than done. When the radio conveys foolish and worth-nothing speech and song to us, we have but to turn the dial or the contact switch if we find no better. This can hardly be done when someone is speaking to you. Yet, those speaking to us should be able to detect by our interest in their words whether or not their speak-efforts please us.
So, Christian, Protestant Reformed Youth, speak up. Do so at the Convention, in your societies—wherever you are. But when you speak, be sure it’s worth listening to. It will be when it is patterned after the Word of God in Christ.