The story is told of Adoniram Judson, that though his mother prayed and cried, that though his father lived a faithful life as a congregationalist preacher, Adoniram Judson did not come to Christ until the age of 20. As a matter of fact, he went to Brown University at the age of 17 because of his intellect and once there he met Jacob Eames, a devout deist and skeptic. After spending much time with Eames, Judson decided to become a deist and was going to spend his time as a wanderlust (a seeker of thrill, adventure, and excitement). This all changed when, unbeknownst to Judson, he laid in a room hearing the death woes of another man dying, which God used to bring him to faith. He would find out the next morning that the death woes he heard was of his old friend, Jacob Eames, now in Hell.
Believe it or not, this 210-year-old story holds a lot of truth for the millennial generation. The millennials are often ridiculed and made fun of for their softness and nonconformity to past generations, but honestly, like every generation, this is a group of young men and ladies that we need in order to reach the world with the Gospel. Let’s look at three truths in the conversion and life of Adoniram Judson that could help our millennial generation be better used for the cause of the Gospel.
• Intellect is enemy!
‘Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. ‘ — 1 Corinthians 8:1
Judson, though raised under the teaching and preaching of the Word of God and around pure Christian living, was encouraged to seek out great knowledge and intellect. This pursuit is what lead to him going to Brown University. Seeking more knowledge lead him to the skepticism of Eames and eventually the emptiness of deism. Our millennial generation is one that loves education and pushes for the acquiring of more and deeper knowledge. The truth is that the smart man lacks faith and faith is required to understand and believe God’s Word. We live in a generation where even the Christians of our day are falling into incorrect doctrine because they cannot be simple and just believe what the Bible says. They must dig into logic and the writings of the church fathers and other theologians, which many times leads to the doctrines of man as opposed to the truths of God! If the millennial generation will be used by God, as hard as it is, they will have to turn from the knowledge of this world to the simple teachings and faith of God’s Word and Christ! Judson’s life never got back on track until he lived by faith and not by worldly knowledge.
• Wanderlust is no way to live!
‘And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. ‘ —Luke 9:23
Judson decided that because God was indifferent to the world (deism) that he would be indifferent to God and His Word (because this book couldn’t be true because of all the supernatural acts taught in it). Therefore, the only thing to live for was a thrill. This lifestyle was the one of a wanderlust, the man who seeks for adventure and thrill in this life. The interesting thing is though he gave up this life to follow God, Judson lived a life of adventure traveling as a missionary and spending time in many places such as India and Burma, surely seeing things that others would only dream of seeing and experiencing. Millienials are actually known as the wanderlust generation. They are a generation that has chosen to live simpler lives than their materialistic parents, in pursuit of adventure, events, and thrill. I am an older millennial, born in 1988, and I can remember that though I grew up on a simple farm in a small town called Mcleansville, NC, I didn’t desire to stay there. I’d sit in a homemade tree stand and read Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I’d read about far away places in the encelopedia and would run around the woods and fields imagining myself all across the USA and the World. I desired to get out of this podunk town and travel the World and didn’t care to have any possessions as I did it. I was a classic wanderlust waiting to happen. But after getting saved and surrendering to ministry around the age of 16, I gave up these dreams not knowing that God would give them back. I keep up with all the places serving God has taken me. I keep pictures of the places and events that God’s allowed me to be a part of and I’m amazed at how giving up my wanderlust for following Christ put me on an adventure all my own. For millennials to serve God they’ll have to give up their sense of worldly adventure that seeks a thrill and sign up for Godly adventure in obedience to Christ. At the end of the day, millennials are MADE for the adventure of missions — they just have to learn the crucified life before God will give it to them.
• Don’t follow your fallen friend!
‘For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. ‘ — Romans 10:9-13
Eames fell to death and Hell! Judson was a wise man and came to faith in Christ before this became his fate! Millennials today are watching their friends die in drugs, accidents, and natural causes everyday, and they are watching them die lost without God. For millennials to serve God they must see the fate of their now suffering friends and turn away from the life of sin, self, and religion, and turn wholly to Jesus Christ and Him alone!
The bottom line is this, Mr & Mrs. Millennial. Will you be used of God or live the status quo millennial life, hollow of meaning? Will you leave the glitter of education, shed off the thrill of wanderlust, and learn your need of Christ or will you fall to the life of meaninglessness?