To kick things off today, I want to express how excited I am over all that God has done these past few weeks. I know, personally speaking, that God has exceeded my expectations through teaching me, steadying me, and spurring me on to want more of him and his will. I've also been encouraged through testimony from family and friends who are knee deep in this journey alongside me that they have been growing spiritually as well. But let's not grow too familiar and comfortable yet, God still has so much in store! Even though we've reached April, and our journey together will be ending soon, I believe that God is just getting started.
Last week I had the chance to lead the greatest group of teens I know as we continued in a teaching series centered around the final days of Jesus. As a ministry student and aspiring pastor/writer, I jump at any opportunity I have to roll up my sleeves and dive into experiences like this one. However, while still very much a ministry baby, I am still trying to figure out the ropes like outlining, pacing, how much Scripture to incorporate, how much of that rope I should throw out to the kids, allowing them to give input. And while all these things are of tremendous value, and will benefit my ministry, I think the most crucial rope I'm unknotting right now is the one God is dangling in front of me, telling me to grab so he can drag me out of the way.
As I was praying over the various thoughts God led me to share last Wednesday, I kept hearing the phrase, "Not you. Not you. Not you." powerfully reverberating through my heart. I may have been the one asked to speak, or the one studying how to string together words to form a coherent and truth-filled message, but my heart's cry is that my lips would never share and my fingers would cease to type my own sloppy, chaotic thoughts and feelings. Instead, I long that it would be the Spirit of the Living God directing each syllable, punctuation mark, and probably-not-that-funny joke I crack to make a group of 12-18 year-olds laugh.
Proverbs 22:4 tells us how it is... "Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life." (New International Version).
Just one of the countless passages of Scripture that touches on the topic of humility, Proverbs 22:4 paints a quick, natural cause-and-effect relationship between fearing the Lord, and a humble spirit. Now, of course, "fearing the Lord" does not mean fear in the sense of terror, suspicion, or crouching away, but rather, being full of awe at the power of our Lord, realizing what He alone is capable of, without our help. The author of Proverbs, the so-called "Wisdom book," is telling us loud and clear that as we seek to glorify God for who he is, placing him above all else, ourselves included, humility will be a natural byproduct.
If the Spirit's constant whispering of "Not you. Not you. Not you." didn't wake me up, the technical difficulties that made a sudden and aggressive appearance literally not 10 minutes into our Wednesday night gathering sure did.
It seemed to be a domino effect. It's amazing how much faith we place on a mere sound system on a Wednesday night. Without a sound system, worship struggles, our recording is audio-less, and the speaker can't use a mic. Heaven forbid.
I found myself standing in the back, gathering my thoughts just moments before sharing and thinking, Okay. This is fine. This doesn't mean tonight isn't good and God isn't here.
The reality is, we probably won't figure out what went wrong, so I'm choosing to focus on what went right. Worship continued, in the most stripped-down fashion, I was able to push through mic-less, and God was able to teach all of us a lesson on humility.
At the end of Wednesday night or Sunday morning, it's not the impressive sound we leave in awe over and contemplate throughout the remainder of our week. A mic isn't what conveys the truth of the gospel. A mediocre-at-best video of our night shared on social media isn't going to save souls. But the Holy Spirit will. And as difficult as it is to swallow, His power isn't determined by our weakness. Or our strengths.
Being a vessel is an honor. But God doesn't need impeccable. He doesn't need lights, music, or honestly? Even a sermon. I know, mind blown. The sense of satisfaction we leave with at the end of a long day at work or church service cannot serve as an indicator for all that God has done and the abundance of seeds planted in fertile souls.
So, simply put, get off your high-horse. It's not us; it's not our productions, schedules, or plans. It's all Jesus. Let's make a conscious effort this week to acknowledge that, even when things go right! Even in our flawless services, brilliant presentations, and nailed essays, it's his power at work. Fear the Lord, and know that our rewards are eternal and glorious. -Taylor