"And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?'" — Mark 14:39-40, ESV
I'm up at here at Mt. Hermon in Santa Cruz, CA. I know, I'm picking up my cross and following Jesus. It's sunny and about 75 degrees outside. Absolutely gorgeous. But that's not important.
I'm speaking to about 200 junior high students this week. I'm used to speaking twice every day at camps but at Mt. Hermon I only speak in the evenings, so it makes me feel really lazy the rest of the day. I taught last night on the size and glory of Jesus. I preached my heart out. Even though I felt like the message fell somewhat flat, two kids stood to surrender to Jesus. I was pumped.
So this morning I hung out with students at breakfast, getting to know them now that I have a connection with them. I met up with them at chapel where I watched the drama that the students watch every morning. When it was over, the students grabbed their stuff to head off to their small groups. It was loud. Junior higher have a lot of energy that seems to leak from their mouths. So I just heard voices but nothing distinct, UNTIL... I heard a guy say, "The speaker last night..." I don't know why that caught me but it did. Then I heard this: "Yeah, I fell asleep last night." The girl he was talking to seemed to agree. And honestly: I was a little deflated. I'm fine with not having any 11-year-old friends. That's not it at all. I just know that I brought it and gave everything that I had last night in that message If you've ever poured everything into something, you can understand why this would sting just a little.
Jesus asked these three disciples—Peter, James, and John—to join him in the garden to pray. And while Jesus was in his most painful time they FELL ASLEEP. He came back and checked on them three times, and each time they were sleeping.
Why bring all of this up?
1). Because I made a commitment to Jesus over the past couple of days to be honest in my blog instead of portraying everything as amazing. The Apostle Paul boasted in his weaknesses so that Christ's power was made perfect in his weakness. Yet, it seems like so many Christians portray themselves as always doing amazing (myself included). The only problem: I'm seen as doing fine rather than Jesus being shown as amazing.
2). The call of God on my life is to be faithful, no matter what the response may be.
3). God's word does not return void. I am convinced that Jesus accomplished exactly what he wanted to accomplish last night.
4). I feel like I'm in good company when someone falls asleep during my preaching. Even Paul had someone fall asleep while he was teaching. The man fell asleep, fell out the window and DIED. The difference: Paul went and prayed over the man and brought him back to life. So I'm praying the same thing for the students: some will fall asleep during the message. My prayer: that they are woken up and brought back to life by Jesus.
CHRISTIANS - Don't ever get discouraged in doing good. Keep going. It's all for Jesus. Strive for his applause rather than the applause, or the consciousness, of others.