Time Out: Weekly quiet times for the youth worker’s soul.
(by Jerry Schmoyer)
As I approach retirement age and look back on a lifetime of ministry I realize there are some important principles I have learned. I’d like to share some of these with you. I’m sure God is teaching you these same truths, but perhaps explaining them from my perspective can benefit you.
As I’ve listed and outlined these lessons over the past several weeks one clearly stands out in first place: God doesn’t need me but I need Him. While that may seem obvious, and while it’s something we have always known in our heads, it seems to take awhile for us to really plunge the depths of this truth.
When I started in ministry I was very excited at the opportunity to use my gifts and talents for God. There was so much I wanted to accomplish. I was “expecting great things from God and doing great things for God.” I knew I needed His help to carry out these desires but I had no doubt with God’s assistance they would happen.
The older I get, though, the more clearly I see that I have nothing to offer. It’s not a teamwork operation, it’s all His grace and mercy. I feel like a little boy thinking he can hit a baseball a mile when it is really his father standing behind him, wrapping his arms around his son and holding the bat with him that is making contact with the ball. Without my heavenly Father’s arms wrapped around me I’d miss it by a mile every time. Every once in awhile, when I insist on doing things my way, God lets me see how unable I am to produce what I desire.
Truly it’s not about me, it’s all about Him! As I slowly but surely mature spiritually I find God keeps getting bigger and bigger. I, by comparison, keep getting smaller and smaller. And that’s not a bad feeling! There’s something freeing about “letting go and letting God.” While I’ve chased quantity in ministry, God is more interested in quality. When I think I have nothing to offer but a bad example He does something to encourage me to keep on going.
There’s a real peace that comes with letting God be God, with recognizing He doesn’t need me to run His Kingdom down here, to humbly come to the conclusion that I can’t do ANYthing without Him. When that becomes more than words but takes on reality in my life then I start listening to Him more. I spend less time asking Him to help me with what I am doing and more asking Him what He wants me to do. I see some of my biggest plans lying in ruins by the wayside, but I find He has used me to touch lives at times and in ways I didn’t expect. I’m learning that people come before program. I’m here to serve my people, they aren’t here to serve my program. I’ve got more peace and more patience because I know that if I am in His will then He will bring whatever results He wants whenever He wants them. God doesn’t measure success by numbers (people, dollars, books published, etc.) but by faithfulness. So I spend more and more time making sure I am doing what He wants and less and less trying to get Him to prop up and bless my plans.
I’m sure you are already learning this and can add to what I’ve said. It’s important to keep it foremost in your mind, though – God doesn’t need any of us but each one of us totally needs Him!
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
- If God withheld His grace and help from your ministry, what would it be like? What could you accomplish for Him on your own, without His help? How often do you try to do this?
- How natural is it for you to give credit to God for EVERYthing that happens?
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!
Posted on August 22, 2010