I assume that at some point, we all go through experiences like this. Those times where we know something to be true but don’t live it out in our lives. Like we all know we should pray and read our bible, but there can be huge chunks of time in our lives where we don’t. And I think its after those moments of realization that we learn the most and are shaped the most.
If I am honest with myself, there is something I was being hypocritical about for the past few months or so. I always try and encourage other youth pastors to live this, and I expect it out of churches and Pastors, to the point of frustration. It’s something I encourage my students to live, and its something I encourage christians in general whom I talk to to live.
It’s the simple idea that Jesus commanded us, Love our neighbor. Romans 8:28 tells us that “In all things, Christ works for the good of those who believe in him” and I have often taken that to mean, in essence, God has a plan for everything. It doesn’t always mean its going to make us happy in the moment, but it means that no matter what, God’s plan is in action.
Part of that is the notion that Where you live, where you work, the roads you drive, the people you interact with at starbucks as you wait in line to order your cappuccino, its all part of God’s plan. God has placed you in the neighborhood he has placed you in for a distinct purpose; to be the Good news in that neighborhood.
If I am honest with myself, I haven’t been living this out. I moved to this Small Town from big towns, growing up in rather large cities, seeing ministry done in large city settings, doing ministry myself in larger cities.
And if I am even more honest with myself, it frustrated me to see peers graduating from the same college I did with the same education going right out of college into large churches in large cities. Even a half hour down the road in the biggest church around is a Liberty grad. And I have students in my Youth Ministry who go to Sunday Morning church and Sunday school at that church, and have Sunday school with that person and then come to our Sunday night program and tell me about all the cool and great things that are going on there.
And it sometimes can make me jealous. I mean, I wish I had a huge youth room that was full of sack chairs and adult volunteers who got youth ministry and were loving on the kids without having to be trained as much as I feel I need to train some of my volunteers.
I wish our ministry had vans and I could do some of the trips I would like to do that our almost impossible to do without large vans.
I wish I wish I wish.
But God has placed me at the church I am at in the town where we are for his purposes. I can choose to seek his will or try and do my own thing my own way, but only one of those will be successful, and it doesn’t involve the word “my.”
So if Im honest with myself, I see that I have a sweet set up. I have a God who has places me in this unique area for a unique purpose, and If I allow him, he can use me , even in a small town, to do great things. Not great things for myself, but great things for his kingdom.