Today I was reminded of why I have the best job in the world. Yesterday I spoke in chapel, and preached for our Lent services at St. John. Although it is truly an honor to stand up front and point people to Jesus, it is not what gets me through the day. It is not what I truly treasure about my job. My greatest joy isn’t teaching a bible class or preaching up front. My greatest joy is walking with, talking with, listening to, and praying with those God has placed in front of me.
Today was a great day. Most of it wasn’t what I planned to do today. The first was praying for a friend I work with. She was in need today and taking the time with a few others to pray for her reminded me why I love my job. It is ok to be sad with them and seek to see God’s work in a tough situation.
The second was another instance where someone asked me about an issue they were having with a child they knew. We walked through some very difficult stuff. Through it all I was reminded of something the first Pastor I served with told me. After 31 years in ministry he said “Steve I have preached many sermons in my day. People don’t remember the sermons or the bible studies, people remember the times you sat with them in their time of need.” Those words are words I have modeled my ministry on. It isn’t about being up front in the lime light or being the funniest guy it the world it is about being there for people and sharing Jesus.
This week as you go about your day please remember that. Please remember that people will not remember what you did for the group. They don’t remember the speeches they remember the times you stopped to listen to them, stopped to pray with them, and the times you lifted them up when they were down. Paul wrote it this way.
“so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Cor. 12:25-27 NIV
So let us rejoice together, let us suffer together as the body of Christ lifting each other up one person at a time.
This past weekend I was asked to speak the message at a former student’s wedding. It was truly an honor to be a part of her, and her husband’s special day. It really made me think about all the students God has lead across my path over the last almost 12 years. It has made me think about what I love most about being in ministry. I love walking alongside people. I get the greatest joy of walking along side people and sharing Jesus with them. Sometimes with great joy and sometimes with great sadness. Most of the time it is both.
Speaking at Emily’s wedding reminded me of the messiness of walking with people. You see at Emily’s wedding it rained during the whole outside wedding ceremony. I am not talking about that kind of rain that just gets you wet but the kind that leaves you drenched. My suit was dripping and I couldn’t see for part of the message because water was just running down my face. I was reminded that walking with students isn’t always easy. It can be quite messy. You know when it is all said and done it is quite rewarding. You get to see two people join as one to follow Jesus together. You get to see lives changed and you get to laugh at the craziness of life and enjoy the moments for what they are. Moments where Jesus can bring joy in the midst of hardships. It did make it much easier to talk with them about being children of God through baptism because I had such a great object lesson.
This weekend also marked another tough moment in ministry. A student who I met a few times and is friends with some of the students I know well, ended his life. It was a tough way to end a weekend. I also thought is was emblematic of ministry. God lets us walk with students in the good times and we also have to walk through the tough stuff as well. I am reminded that Jesus calls us to walk in the lows and the highs, in the sorrow and joys but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I will have another post later about this week with students and about this young man. So as I end I would ask for prayers first for the couple who is starting a new life and second for the family grieving today. Ministry is tough and walking with families isn’t always easy but Jesus reminds us of his unfailing love through all of it.
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance
Ecclesiastes 3:4 ESV