“This essential energy of the soul is not an ecstatic trance, high emotion, or a sanguine stance toward life: It is a fierce longing for God, an unyielding resolve to live in and out of the truth of our belovedness.” -Brennan Manning
What you really need for the ministry you are called to live out… is God.
There have been times when I thought “All I need for this ministry to really take off is ______.” The blank in my mind has been filled in a number of ways at various times: better facilities, a few more adults who really love kids, a bigger budget, any budget, a better band, etc. “Maybe if I get another degree or use the right curriculum or set up the room in just the right configuration…”
The truth is that what I really need to lead youth to the destiny God has in mind – is more of Him. That doesn’t simply come to us from a great camp or youth trip – a momentary mountain-top. It comes to us from – no HE comes to us through an unyielding resolve to know that I am loved by God and to live out the knowledge of that love. One of Paul’s prayers for the early church was that they would “know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). When we know the love that is greater than we can comprehend – when we really live out of that love – His power is at work within and through us, doing more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Because I know that I am loved by Him, I can…
-love kids who just come to church to keep up appearances.
-love kids who make the same terrible choices over and over.
-love kids who make the same mistakes I’ve made because they won’t learn from someone else.
-love parents who’ve spent years breaking their children’s spirits and now just wonder why they’re so unmotivated.
-love the church even when it too closely resembles our culture’s abandonment of the next generation; and love her enough to challenge her to do better.
-love enough to tackle tough issues and tell students the truth (even when it hurts and I know they won’t like it).
For over a decade, I’ve been learning and relearning this lesson. I would have never imagined myself doing any of the above. On my own, I am a small, self-protecting wuss standing on the sidelines watching the fray so I don’t get hurt. Left to myself, I am an underconfident pansy resting in the shade where it’s comfortable, I won’t get stepped on, and no one’s mad at me.
Thank God that He hasn’t left me to myself… because in Him, I’ve found who I really am. Not insignificant, not vulnerable – I am His.
Never forget who you are.