Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
You’ve worked really hard on a great devotional or Bible study. You think its one of the best you’ve ever put together and are excited to share it with the kids, but when you’ve finished delivering it, you walk away from the youth meeting confused because it just seemed to lay there, flat, without life. Or, how about the time you deliver a lesson you felt God wanted you to share, but despite not expecting much from it, several teens say your words touched them and changed their lives. What’s up with these situations? There’s great danger in evaluating what we do just by the results we see. If our audience likes our Bible lessons and responds well, we feel we did a good job. If they don’t — failure.
What we do is similar to being a quarterback. A quarterback’s job is to deliver the ball to the receivers and move it down the field. He is rated by how many passes he completes, but if you know anything about football you know that isn’t a true measurement of his skill. Passes can be dropped, receivers run wrong routes, or they may let the ball bounce out of their hands into the hands of a defender. Once the quarterback lets go of the ball, if it is caught or not is not up to him. He can’t throw it then run down the field and catch it. Of course he has to throw the best pass he can, a right spiral right into the receiver’s hands. Even so, they aren’t always caught, but that’s not the quarterback’s fault.
The opposite is also true. Sometimes the quarterback throws a wobbly pass that isn’t very accurate, but the receiver will make a great adjustment and end up with a miraculous catch. All a quarterback can do is try to throw the best pass he can making it as easy as possible for the receiver to catch it, but the catch is up to the recipient.
Do you see my point? We are the quarterback. We are responsible to deliver the message in the best possible manner, making it as easy as possible for our recipients to catch it, but God does not hold us accountable if they miss it. Sometimes we don’t pass as well, but a listener will come away with a miraculous change inside anyway.
Focus on delivering the message in the best way you know how and let the Holy Spirit work in their lives to do the rest. What happens after that is between them and God. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself. Don’t manipulate for results. Just put it out there and leave the rest up to God.
2 Timothy 2:15, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
- Do you put extra pressure on yourself to get certain results from your ministry?
- Do you have a hard time patiently letting God work?
- Do you find yourself frustrated with the teens you lead because they just don’t seem to be getting it fast enough? That’s a sure-fire recipe for discouragement. Take a few moments and turn it over to God. Ask Him to help you just focus on faithfully ministering to your kids, and let the results to Him and them.
Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years now, 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 February 18, 2008