If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? — Jeremiah 12:5a, ESV
As I have walked with Jesus on this journey through ministry I have learned some things (hopefully worth passing along). Some of those lessons have come in an easier manner of education while others have left me flat on my tail-end wondering what the heck just happened (and honestly, those are the lessons that are most vivid).
When I first started ministry I knew what I was doing. Seriously. I was the expert. In fact, if Jesus had paged me back then (just dating myself a little bit right now), I would have expected the page for assistance. I knew what needed to happen and how to get it done. And honestly, I would often look at other youth ministries around me and wonder why they were so much "bigger" than mine was. I couldn't understand it. And here was the reason: they were running with horses while I wasn't ready to do so yet. I was just starting this ministry thing with Jesus and he knew that I wasn't ready to take on the pressure and stress that comes with more responsibility.
Today I sit as the Lead Next Gen Pastor at PFB Church and I have this issue: I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I can't guarantee that every person who comes through this ministry will fall in love with Jesus. I can't guarantee that every single person will be free from any kind of pain or problem because they've listened to my teaching. I can't guarantee that every single person will even like me as their pastor, teacher, or leader. But I can guarantee you this: every single person will hear about Jesus because he has taken the attention off of my and placed it on himself (which is the best thing to do anyway). I can guarantee that people will be invited into a community that is in process instead of one that has arrived already. I can guarantee that the ministry that God has entrusted to me will be one with his heartbeat for the lost and his passion for the broken, empowered for his Holy Spirit as we truly seek after him.. 17 years ago? No way. I was too focused on me. Today: let's just say it's amazing how God can strip a person down so that all that he/she has left is Jesus. I still struggle with pride today, but at least I can admit it now.
Over the years Jesus has brought me to a place where I can run with the horses. I don't always believe that I can but I am blown away with the ministry that I get to be a part of. Now I can't run by my own abilities, of course, but he has done a work in me that leaves me completely reliant upon him in order to see anything eternally significant happen. And with this comes more questions and concerns and worries about the "what ifs" and the "what abouts," but it's better to be clueless and reliant in order to see God's kingdom impacted than it is to know everything and self-reliant, only building a castle in the sand.
This verse has come to mind so often this past year. I've asked why and I've come to this conclusion: THE BEST IS YET COME!!!! I don't take credit for any of the work that is happening. I'm just excited to be the world's biggest horse jockey in the race of a lifetime.
LEADERS, CHRISTIANS: We need to toughen up. We can be honest with what we are struggling with or worried about, but there comes a time when we need to suck it up and realize that our knowing God should change our perspective completely. In fact, Jesus' advice to us when we worry is this: DON'T! "Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me" (John 14:1, ESV). So, feel the freedom in admitting that you don't have a clue so that you can be part of the miraculous. Because I'm convinced: as long as there's a way for me to take credit for what's happening around me, I will never be part of the miraculous of Jesus.
I know this seems like a bunch of rambling, but I just had to get it out. Now it's time to get back in the race. Will you be coming?
P.S. Click here to read Jeremiah 12 in its entirety.