Ephesians 6:1-9 (MSG)
Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. "Honor your father and mother" is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, "so you will live well and have a long life." Fathers, don't exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master. Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God. Good work will get you good pay from the Master, regardless of whether you are slave or free. Masters, it's the same with you. No abuse, please, and no threats. You and your servants are both under the same Master in heaven. He makes no distinction between you and them.
Sharon Parks in her book, The Critical Years: The Young Adult Search for a Faith to live By, says that today's young adults, who ought to feel confident about their place in the future, feel small and vulnerable. She writes:
The salient feature of this generation of students is that they are reasonably optimistic about their individual futures but very pessimistic about the future of the country. Levine describes them as "going first class on the Titanic-working hard to build an island of security in a world they expect to get worse and that they feel powerless to affect."
Children, youth, young adults, and all generations need to be reminded that our hope is in Christ. Reinhold Niebuhr once said, "Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime. Therefore we must be saved by hope." All people, especially our young people, need to experience the church as a place of hope.
A number of years ago Trina Paulus wrote a parable of life called Hope for the Flowers. It's a story about Stripe the caterpillar who climbs down from the tree of his birth to explore. He soon encounters a huge pile of caterpillars climbing over each other in a frantic attempt to reach the top of a caterpillar pillar. Stripe assumes this is what he is supposed to be doing with his life and begins to climb. He soon discovers that the caterpillars who reach the top are immediately knocked back to the ground. Stripe decides that climbing the caterpillar pillar is a waste of time and climbs down.
Eventually Stripe slows down and spins a cocoon. Stripe eventually emerges from his cocoon and becomes a butterfly. Stripe's transformation is a symbol of the new life offered to each of us through Christ. Anyone in Christ is a new creation. We are saved by hope, the hope of Christ. That is something all of God's generations could really use right now. Think about it.
Sharon Parks, The Critical Years: The Young Adult Search for a Faith to Live By (San Francisco, CA: Harper and Row Publishers, 1986), 180.