Updated: Aug 11
Sometimes you need courage to stand for what you believe in. Having this attribute is not easy, but it is necessary. On April 20, during chapel, senior Caleb Yant spoke on the importance of courage. His message focused on his journey for the courage that Jesus had. Like many, Caleb was hesitant to stand out, but through Jesus, he is finding his courage to stand firm.
This was Caleb’s message:
I desperately need the courage of Jesus.
While I may not face physical hostility for my faith, I find it hard to live out my faith in a world where I am faced with ridicule just for being a follower of Jesus and with peer pressure to be silent about Him. I often do the cowardly thing and succumb to the expectations the world has for me. Jesus said, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32–33). I need the courage of Jesus so I can stand up to these temptations and proclaim my Savior through my words and actions.
Many times, being an ambassador requires more than just living and loving like Jesus. There are times when we are called to actively share the gospel with someone who desperately needs to hear what Jesus can do to rescue them. This happened to me a few years back, the summer before high school. I was working my first job that summer, pollinating corn fields. It was a good experience for me, working hard and earning my own money. I didn’t make much headway in the social department though. I was pretty shy then and didn’t talk to anyone at first.
But later on in the summer, one of my coworkers befriended me. His name was Ray. Ray was a great friend. Whenever I had a question about the job, he’d answer it and help me. I later learned that Ray was Hindu. Ray and I had many conversations, and Ray seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me. But out of all the conversations we had, he never sounded more interested than in this next conversation. Ray knew I was a Christian, and so he asked me what “church” was like.
God was giving me the perfect opportunity to share the gospel! But I didn’t take the opportunity as I should have. Instead, I just shrugged and answered with, “We sing for a bit, and then our pastor comes up and preaches. That’s about it.” Ray asked me a few more questions about it, but when I answered those in the same way, he realized I wasn’t very keen to talk about it, so the conversation shifted to something else.
That night, I realized how much of an opportunity I had to share the gospel, but that I had just shrugged it off like it was nothing. I promised myself that if Ray brought it up again, I would do it differently, knowing deep down that I probably wouldn’t. Such an opportunity didn’t come anyway. The summer ended, the job was finished, and I never saw Ray again. I can only hope that someone more courageous than me was able to share the gospel with him and do what I couldn’t do.
I desperately need the courage of Jesus. But how do I get this kind of courage? I’ll get it not by trusting in myself, not by relying on my own strength to overcome obstacles, but by trusting fully in God and getting closer and closer to Him.
God told Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). God said through Isaiah, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand” (Isaiah 41:10). God said through Solomon, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5–6). Scripture makes it clear that being close to God gives us courage, not trusting in ourselves.
Through reading and studying His Word, and in my prayer life, I have gotten closer to God since my summer with Ray. And as I have gotten closer to God, Jesus has given me more of His courage — even to be up here today. I still have a long way to go, but I trust that, as I strive to live for Him, to be closer and closer to Him, He will take me the rest of the way.
Trust in the Lord your God with all your heart. Trust in Him, and He will give you strength. Trust in Him, and He will give you courage.
Caleb’s search for courage is not done yet. God still has plans for him and his newfound courage. Possibly in the future, Caleb will use this courage to lead others to Jesus by sharing the gospel without fear. We are all called to this mission. If anyone lacks the courage to do this, God will help them find it, just as God has helped Caleb find the courage of Jesus.
— Ryan Chen, class of '23