Most days I have at least one moment where I feel like I am a bit inadequate for the task. To be clear, I am not talking about just my ministry work, or my parenting work; I am talking about both of those. There are things through-out my day where I seem to know what is going on and then the next moment I am wondering how I got into this. It is the adventure of life walking with God. I love the thrill of it all, most days.
As a parent, much of what is experienced is either trial and error or other people’s trial and error. Sure, there are books on it, but they are just people who have also learned as they went. Kids are complicated because they have such wonderful role models who are also complicated. As my 7-year-old son (2nd grade) gets older, I am noticing his vulnerability to influence. This is not always a bad thing, but it can make him a bit sensitive to what others are thinking.
For example, he took a lunch to school yesterday. In that lunch we included two small pieces of candy. As it turns out, due to the wellness policy or fairness doctrine (both of which are loony), he isn’t supposed to bring candy to school. The best I could figure it out, one of his classmates had questioned him on it. Whatever the story, it should not matter whether he brings candy to school or not. If he doesn’t have enough for everyone, that is nobody’s business. We are not running a welfare program, we are feeding our child (gasp) candy.
In a related incident, one day he came home and told us he was not allowed to have a club at school. (not the weapon club) It was true that he had recently watched ‘The Little Rascals’ and was really excited about the whole club house thing. The best I could tell, he wasn’t being rude about it, but the verdict was: “No clubs at school.” So, he comes home thinking he has done something wrong. All he was guilty of was being a 7-year-old boy. These are somewhat light-hearted examples, but they still put me, the parent, in an awkward place because, even though I think the school is acting a bit irrational, I don’t want to have my child go to school and tell them that. So, we figure some of those things out as we go. Do I always have the right answer? Probably not, but it works out.
As youth pastor, each day is different. Tonight is youth group night and I have no idea what to expect. Every week is different,every student brings their own baggage and every conversation brings a bit of mystery with it. Will we have someone show up whose parents are getting divorced? Will someone who is being abused reach out for help? Will a student who is suicidal finally speak up? Will that young man who struggles with lust and internet images ask for advice? There are so many variables and so few ways to prepare.
What is encouraging in these things is that God enables us for the work. I am amazed at how I am able to approach difficult scenarios, even when I haven’t got a clue. God is the one who calls and He is also the one who gives the skills to get the job done.
Moses, if you remember, was not a man who was real excited about his mission. In fact, the excuses came one after another. Did that mean God gave up on Moses? No, we know He didn’t. Instead God gave Him everything he needed in order to get the job done and to help sustain the people during their time in the wilderness. This was not because Moses was an amazing orator or leader in his own right, but because God made him all that he was.
What is amazing about the whole thing was the way Moses’ story ended. God had taken someone of very limited means and made him great. He became so great that we are still talking about him thousands of years after the fact. What an amazing legacy!
“Since then, no prophecy has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, who did all those miraculous signs and wonders the LORD sent him to do in Egypt — to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land. For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.” Deuteronomy 34:10-12
What an ending! To go from a lowly shepherd to someone who was the greatest prophet to ever come to the Israelites, until Jesus Christ, is tremendous. What made him so great was not his money, or amazing skill; it was this statement : “whom the LORD knew face to face.” The success Moses found in his ministry came from an initiate relationship with God. Without it, he would not have had the impact he did.
Each person, young or old, has an opportunity to be used by God and equipped for His work. God desires a relationship with each person, but so many just ignore Him. It is my prayer that more people would walk like Moses, as he walked with God. That more parents, teens and leaders would stand up and be courageous in the face of opposition in the culture. We know that God is faithful and that when He calls, He also equips.
Moses’ happy ending started at the beginning when God showed up and sent Him on His mission. Without that, we wouldn’t be talking about him today.