My kids make their presence known in dynamic ways our neighborhood. I don’t know how many times I have to tell the kids to get off someone’s yard or stay out of someone’s flower bed. Even with all of the challenges, they are constantly asking to go for walks. These excursions are the most cherished times for our kids right now.
I should probably clarify. When my kids say walk they actually mean they want to ride their bikes. This weekend we went on a walk and we decided that we were truly going to walk. (run) The kids didn’t appreciate that, but were happy to be able to bring something along with them for the journey. My 7-year-old took a blue ball that he tried to bounce and walk with. (yeah right) My 5-year-old took a small broom. Yes, he took a broom on a walk. With him we don’t often ask questions. If you have read anything here on my blog before, you have certainly appreciated his randomness at times.
His plan this time was to use his little broom to clean the road. Our road is in really rough shape because it is considered a private road and there is a complicated process to get the town to do something about that. So cleaning the road with a small broom is not really that effective. But, you try telling my son that. He would stop and sweep a little section, move ahead a few feet and sweep some more. He was devoted to the task.
God has a way of speaking through the antics of my children. It dawned on me as I watched him that what he was doing was not all the different from what a Christian person experiences in the world. You might spend all of your energy and time being involved in the life of someone and never really see all that much progress. Does that mean you don’t do it? I don’t think so. If I needed to see progress at every event I ever did in youth ministry, I would have quit a long time ago.
In the Old Testament book of Ezra, there is a story about the return of the people from captivity and the rebuilding of the temple. It was no easy task and it did not come without opposition. There is some back and forth dialogue on this and some starting and stopping of the project. But, in chapter 5 the rebuilding work continued. But, a letter was sent to King Darius about this.
“We questioned the elders and asked them, “Who authorized you to rebuild this temple and restore the structure?” This is the answer they gave us: “We are the servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago, one that a great king of Israel build and finished.” – Ezra 5:9,11
That is the key to what we do with our lives. It is not about what we do, it is about the God we serve. How easy would it have been to stand up to opposition like that? Conversely, how easy would it have been for them just to stop what they were doing and walk away? They didn’t do that because they knew that the One they were serving was not a man, He was God Almighty.
In youth ministry, I have had my fair share of joys and heartache. There are the students who come to know Jesus and set out to make a difference in their world. These are the ones who invite friends, ask questions and read their Bibles in order to draw near to God. Then there are the students who maybe have been close to God at one time who decide they no longer have time for God. There have been times when I have invested considerable time in someone’s life only to have them walk away from the Lord. Was it time waste? There is no such thing as wasted time when you are working in obedience to God.
You might feel like all you are doing in life amounts to sweeping a road with a small broom. But, if God has asked you to do that, then do it with all that you have in you. It is not for us to determine how it will work out. We are simply to obey the God who sends us out and let Him work out the details.