Cayla Sanderlin shares about the very first youth retreat with Shalom Iglesia, the Servant Partners church plant in San Jose.
Over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend in January, we took our youth group from Shalom Iglesia (the Church Squad) on their very first retreat. It was an honor to see our youth have personal encounters with Jesus, some for the first time. We enjoyed hearing stories from guest speakers and were able to have one-on-one discipleship with the youth. We had more leaders attend the retreat than youth, which we count as a huge blessing. As our pastora says, "To share a burden, half the burden. To share a blessing, twice the blessing."
I was privileged to give a short devotional entitled Is it Worth It? centered on Matthew 13:44-46 which reads:
The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
In writing the devotional, I was struck by the truth that these two men face: the Kingdom is worth all. They realize the treasure is worth more than what they currently have, and they choose to give up in order to receive. In reflecting on my own story, I have come to find the same truth. When I moved to San Jose three years ago, I left behind a community of friends, my family, my boyfriend (now husband), a city that I loved, because I knew that what God had to offer me by choosing the Kingdom was far greater than what I had to offer myself if I stayed where I was. God’s invitation meant letting go of good things for something even better. And in moving to San Jose and building the relationships with people in my neighborhood, I have found joy I would have missed if I stayed.
At the end of the devotional, I shared that we have a choice between two kingdoms: the kingdom of ourselves (pursuing and worshiping our own comfort) which is easy at first, but always leads to loneliness, and the Kingdom of God which is hard at first, but always leads to joy. My hope is that all of the youth will choose the latter.