Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Greater Work

This weekend Matt asked me to share my testimony at youth group. There's a daunting task. Entertain 70 junior high students with a story that involves no good drama. :) But Matt wanted me to share my story because it was in junior high that God stole my heart. It was 8th grade where I got a taste of the abundant life and then couldn't get enough. I used one of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis about how we are half-hearted creatures that are content playing in a muddy slum when God has offered us a vacation at the beach. To bring this down to their level, I simplified it and said we are content in a sandbox when God has offered us the beach. The main idea (stolen from Lewis) "We are far too easily pleased." I worked on my talk all week. God challenged me with it, I was excited about it, I worked with Matt on it to make it junior high suitable. Sunday night came, I presented my testimony with every ounce of fervor and passion I could muster.
...Then I went to lead my small group.
They didn't get it.
As we went through the prewritten questions, I was depressed at each answer. No one was crying from conviction. No one was jumping out of their seat screaming "I'm ready for the abundant life!!" No one seemed the least bit motivated. Internally I rummaged through every tactic I have learned for youth ministry of how to relate to these girls, how to communicate that Jesus is worth it, that popularity and name brand clothes isn't the end all!
But then I get it.
It's not about me. Or my tactics. Or my skills in relating. I can't take them by the shoulders,(lovingly) shake 'em twice, and say "Get it?!". It is the HOLY SPIRIT. It's Jesus, not me, who is the author and perfectors of faith. I cannot work my magic and then Matt's youth group will transform into a group of sincere, passionate evangelists. They will still be a big group of sweet, funny, sometimes smelly, junior highers. But our God can work with smelly junior highers.
Oswald Chambers has a quote that says "Prayer does not prepare us for the greater work. It IS the greater work." Isn't that so true? My work for this youth group is not primarily Starbucks dates with 8th grade girls, or leading dating talks for the girls, or even cheering them on at a volleyball game. My work, as a pastor's wife, is at home. Monday through Saturday, on my knees. Begging the Holy Spirit to move in power. Praying that the Lord will entice them away, into a dessert as Hosea says, that they would see how fulfilling He is.
And the great news is that the Holy Spirit will do a lot better job than I ever could.

1 comment:

  1. Amen sister! Love that reminder. I had the same thought the other day as Eli and I looked over our finances... we both started to get stressed, then he says, "God's taking care of us" and closed the computer. The end. Faith is faith, and God is GOOD.