I have done youth work now for five years. I have interned, practiced and failed youth work for the last five years. I still get nervous at the thought of standing in front of 10-15 teenagers and try and teach them the concepts and laws of their creator and savior. Four years ago I lived in a remote part of the United States called Bozeman Montana teaching and mentoring people who probably should have been teaching and mentoring me. Now after four years of traveling and wondering I find myself back in Bozeman asking God how he got anything done while I was here. The college and youth group that I so foolishly tried to lead and "straighten up" was God's group all along. The older I get the more and more I come to realize that God is God and is most definitely not. It was not that while I was working with the youth in Bozeman that I believed I was God, however, I did believe that the work going on in Bozeman revolved around me and it was my job to keep the work of God going.
My favorite verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. I love this verse so much that I decided to get this tattooed on my back in original Hebrew. The concept and message of this verse is incredibly simple and applicable to anyone anywhere. Trust in the LORD with all of your heart and never lean on your wisdom or understanding. In every way acknowledge him in ALL that you do because it is He that will carry you through. The Hebrew word used here for LORD is the most cherished name of God, Jehovah. This name is the national name of God by the Jewish people. When a Jew hears this name he is to recall the God of the covenant. It was Jehovah that came to Adam and Eve after the fall of mankind and promised the solution to the sin problem man just created. Jehovah was the God that came to Abraham and promised him a land and a nation. Jehovah is the God of the Law of Moses which he gave to his people promising them that if they keep the law and followed him, God would bless them and give them more than they ever imagined. However, Jehovah is the God that ripped the land and the nation from them when they failed to follow him and keep his commandments. Jehovah is all we need and is worthy of our trust and respect. He has never backed down from a promise and has never lacked to provide his part of a covenant.
In our ministry and life it is this God that is in control. We cannot depend or lean on our understanding of what ministry should be or look like. As ministers and workers in his kingdom we must depend on the wisdom and understanding that comes from God. Now if you are anything like me you have heard that same statement spoken hundreds of times with no definition of what is this wisdom and understanding. The experience I do have in ministry is just enough to know that I still lack this understanding. But the end of v. 6 is what I love the most. The understanding of God and the wisdom that he does provide us is enough to carry us through. I always think of a father leading his child through a trail in the mountains. The child doesn’t know of the dangers off to the side of the trail, he only has the father’s assurance that if he follows close by the child has nothing to fear. When the child stumbles and falls the father is there to encourage and even pick up and carry the hurting child to the journeys end.
I leave you with that encouragement. May your ministry never be your own but God’s. May you trust in God and lean on his wisdom and be amazed as to where he will carry you.