There are times I sit back and am amazed that God would use me for something He is doing. These are the “ah ha” moments in my life as a youth pastor. It is not that I don’t think I have anything to offer, I just know that what I do have to offer is not all that significant on its own. I know people look at the life of a youth pastor and think that it must be amazing to play video games all day long and eat pizza for every meal. The truth is there is no worldly glamor in spending time with teenagers. It is messy, difficult and often leaves me feeling a bit worn down. For that reason, I know people who run screaming at the mention of youth ministry.
Yet, in this is an amazing privilege; a privilege that comes not from my own talents (yeah right) or dynamic speaking abilities, but from the very presence of God. It is God who enables me to serve. The church belongs to Him. This was brought up in a rather humorous way on our way out of church on Sunday morning. My 5-year-old son said to me, “hey dad, is this your church?” Before I could even get a word in my 7-year-old son said, “no, this church belongs to God.” All I could say was, “amen.”
In ministry there is an appeal to being up front, noticed, or called upon as a guest speaker. This appeal can quickly become an obsession if it is not tempered with God’s Word. The reality is that the ministry I have will be successful if God is leading it, otherwise I might as well do something else. Oh, how I pray for God to speak to me and through me. Daily I want to hear from God because I am aware of what happens when I go about things without him.
In the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel, we find the story of King David. Even the fact that David was king was all the work of God. David was nobody special in the eyes of the world, but God chose him. God even makes significant promises to David early on in his reign.
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth.” 2 Samuel 7:8-9
David is surprised by this and replies to the Lord in humility.
“Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” 2 Samuel 7:18
This humble position is one we all need to take before the God. It seems to me that there are too many appeals for attention for all the wrong reasons. No matter what influence we have, it is important to understand that it comes from God and should be used for His purposes. I know we like to be noticed, but we need to be who we are, not who the people around us want us to be. Our world needs leaders who are willing to step off their pedestals and recognize the God who placed them there. What a difference that would make! Thinking about your life, no matter what you do for a living, what kind of difference would it make in your daily life if people lived in true humility? Rather than being overly competitive and stomping on others, there would be much greater respect for each other as people, not as people in the way of your success. If this was the position of everyone in the church, can you imagine how much different the environment in some churches would be? The appeal for power or playing politics would be no more as everyone stopped and said, “who am I that you, the Lord of everything, would use even me to minister to your people?”
When people are truly at a place of humility, then we can all say together:
“How great you are, O Sovereign LORD! There is no one like you, and there is no God but you” – 2 Samuel 7:22