It is May! This is a month where congregations across the Great River Region are having services and events in recognition of the accomplishments of the youth who will be graduating from high school and for adults who will be graduating from institutions of higher education.  This gives me pause to investigate the meaning of these words. has these among its definitions.

“Recognition” [ rek-uhg-nishuhn ] (noun)

  1. An act of recognizing or the state of being recognized.
  2. The acknowledgment of achievement, service, merit, etc.

“Accomplishment” [ ac-com-plish-ment ] (noun)

  1. Something that has been achieved successfully
  2. The successful achievement of a task

On a regional level, we have traditionally recognized the Seniors who have served on the Youth Commission during the month of May. It is certainly appropriate to recognize our one and only Youth Commissioner, Ben LeMaster. He is from First Christian Church & Waterway in Bentonville, Arkansas. He ALONE planned for two youth events this school year with support from the adults who serve on the Commission. He carried most of the responsibility for the activities, theme, scripture, order of worship, and selection of songs. He did this with grace and confidence because he has a deeply rooted relationship with a loving Savior. There is no way one ‘kid’ could have done this by himself or from his own strength. Ben LeMaster knows where to turn when the pressures of life get to him. He turns to Jesus.  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”

Romans 7:18 NIV It is through FAITH and obedience to God’s leading that Ben’s projects have been such a success.

Ben has served as a wonderful example of how we should all strive to live our lives. He has been a living sacrifice to the Great River Region’s youth program. I am certain that this is not the only area of his life where we could be witness to God working through him. My prayer is that we could all take a page from his book and serve as he has served. We recognize his accomplishments but know that God is doing great things in and through Ben. My prayer is that you can see the ways that God is at work in the youth and young adults all around the Great River Region. Then, follow that example and become a living sacrifice for God.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1 NIV