I was about to embark on a 12 day Speaking Blitz in the North West region of the US and I was in desperate need for some inspiration. I had been working on my presentation for a week, but I had hit a wall. So, I decided to pray and ask God for the inspiration, it was His message I wanted to give anyway.
At some point during my prayer a vision of a palm tree and a pineapple popped into my head. I’ll admit, although I completely believe that the Lord is in the business of answering our prayers, this seemed a little farfetched for me. I mean, with nearly 3 feet of snow on the ground and the temps below freezing, I might just be projecting my desire to be somewhere tropical.
I did what I think anyone in my position would do, the next day I Googled palm trees and pineapples. Now, I’m not sure what the palm tree was about, but when an image of a pineapple plant came onto my computer screen, I was transfixed. A mixture of awe, wonder, and confusion swept through me and I couldn’t tear my eyes away (much like one looking at the scene of an accident, just not with gruesome aspect). This plant is…weird. Seriously, I don’t get it. I don’t know if you can “get” a plant, but if you can, I don’t get this one. But then it hit me, teenagers are like pineapple plants.
Give me a chance to explain. Here is this plant that is incredibly strange looking and a little out of place. In fact if I came across a pineapple plant in the wild, chances are I would go running in the opposite direction for fear of it coming alive and trying to eat me. I think about all the other people who probably had the same reaction as me, passing it right up. But then eventually this person came along with a little curiosity, chopped the pineapple right off the top of the stalk, hacked it in half, and then took a good lick. You know what they discovered; they found out that pineapple is good. It is not just good for eating, but is also a substantial fruit, it is good for feeding many.
I believe that the world looks at teenagers and think, “I just don’t get it. I don’t get their clothes. I don’t understand what they are saying. They are just…weird.” And they walk right by students, missing out. Because I know if they took the time to get to know that teenager, they would come to know what I already do. What students have on the inside of them is very good. What teenagers have to offer the world is desperately needed.
Teenagers are a passionate people. Whether if it is about their sports, music, art, or about not caring about anything (seriously, they take that “I don’t care” attitude and run with it). And when they are passionate about the things of God, they have an ability to make amazing impacts on the world and Kingdom of God. And God agrees with me. He’s been in the business of using young people to do His will since…well, the beginning. From David to Jeremiah, Mary and the disciples, God’s used the courage, passion, and zeal of a teenage believer to change the course of history.
So the next time you see a teenager, do what the guy who discovered the pineapple did. Stop and take a deeper look. You may be surprised by the goodness you find there!
Originally Published February 2, 2011