So Why Do I Keep Doing This???
I have to admit sometimes I feel like ministry just isn't worth it. The odd hours, the odd people, the lack of thanks are all reasons I can get simply depressed that this is my vocation. I mean, do people ever really change? Am I really making any difference in the lives of teenagers? Even if I am do they care?
That is the feeling that comes over me now and again. Then I have a week like this one. You see, on Sunday night I got a nasty email from a parent telling me how horrible a Youth Pastor I am. I admit, it hurt. It also made me angry. I tried to be reasonable and calm in my response and then went to bed. I woke up the next morning still angry and started my day cursing the woman and the audacity she had in sending the email in the first place.
Then came a bit of a surprise. A second email that could almost be interpreted as an apology. You see I had been brought into a family squabble and after she thought about it, she realized I had nothing to do with it. So she said she didn't mean to make it sound like it was my fault. In one fell swoop she made me feel better and guilty at the same time. I felt better because she had apologized and guilt for the bad names I had called her in the mean time.
Then that afternoon God gave me a chance to counsel her daughter. I helped her daughter to see that sometimes parents overreact not because they are horrible people who want to keep you down. Sometimes they are like that because they love you and are having a hard time accepting that you are growing up. I also reminded her that sometimes she may have to prove that she is actually growing up to gain their respect. A few hours later I got an IM telling me that our talk had really helped her put it all in perspective. She told me I had helped her.
Last night, my Senior High Guys Bible study met as we do every Tuesday. Three of the guys have been in this group since they were freshman and will be graduating High School in a couple of months. On Sunday the last of the three turned 18. As I sat and watched them interact last night, I found myself feeling like a father who has watched his boys grow into men. Sure they still have their rough edges and none of them are the poster boy for maturity, but I have seen God move in their lives and put them well on the road to becoming spiritually mature believers.
Also, a new guy came and stopped this morning to IM me and tell me how happy he was he came. He told me he got a lot out of the meeting and that he knew he struggled in some of the areas we were discussing and he is committed to doing better.
So, I guess these are the reasons I don't close up shop and begin to work at Wal-Mart. You see there are these moments (ever infrequent though they may be) when God punches a hole in the sky above us and sunshine rains down. He shows us that we are making a difference. He shows us that in spite of being wicked, useless, sinful people, He wants to use us to make a difference for him. I thank Him for the reminder this week. I pray that I will recall these moments the next time I am tempted to chuck it all for less stress and more glory.