On the Interweb I have been involved in a discussion about professionalism in youthwork and the relationship between being a professional and having a calling. The Etymology of 'professional' was mentioned:
Looking at the 'roots' of such things ... from the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary, we find:
Main Entry: pro·fes·sion
Etymology: Middle English professioun, from Anglo-French profession, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin profession-, professio, from Latin, public declaration, from profitēri
Date: 13th century
1: the act of taking the vows of a religious community
2: an act of openly declaring or publicly claiming a belief, faith, or opinion : protestation
3: an avowed religious faith
4 a: a calling requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation b: a principal calling, vocation, or employment c: the whole body of persons engaged in a calling
This reminded me of my favourite definition of what it means to be a doctor from Thomas Sydenham in the 17th century:
It becomes every man who purposes to give himself to the care of others seriously to consider the four following things:
First that he must one day give an account to the supreme judge of all the lives entrusted to him.
Secondly, that all his skill and knowledge and energy, as they have been given by God, so they should be exercised for his glory and the good of mankind and not mere gain and ambition.
Thirdly, and not more beautifully than truly, let him reflect that he has undertaken the care of no mean creature, for in order that he may estimate the value, the greatness of the human race, the only begotten Son of God became himself a man and thus ignobled it with his divine dignity. And far more than this, died to redeem it.
And fourthly, that the doctor, being himself a mortal man, he should be diligent and tender in relieving his suffering patients in as much as he himself must one day be a like sufferer.
This got me thinking of whether one could draw parallels for a youthworker. This is what I came up with:
All of us who love the joy and the hard work of ministering to young people, let us reflect on the following:
Firstly a youthworker will one day give an account to the supreme judge for the influence he has had on all the young lives entrusted to him.
Secondly, whilst youthwork rarely brings financial rewards, let the youthworker remember that all his talent and energy are God-given and should be used for His glory.
Thirdly, a youthworker should remember always that God's own son died for every single young person. And if God thinks that someone is worth dying for, how dare I think otherwise. Most especially, let us remember that when faced with the young person who society deems unworthy of any care or attention.
And forthly, The Christian youthworker, being himself a forgiven-sinner, let him never forget that each of the young people need example and discipleship and not condemnation and judgementalism in order to grow to maturity in the same way that the youthworker needed it too.
Thoughts or comments?