I’ve heard this before. Surely I don’t really need to hear this again. I’d rather not be here.
This is how I’ve felt about a few things lately. Lately, opportunities to hear or think about God’s word have become burdens more than joy. I’ve felt like I’d rather stay home than to learn. In my arrogance and pride, I sometimes think I am beyond the things that I’m hearing.
Then God reminds me of the simple things, like prayer. I’ve always found prayer hard, maybe because I’m not used to having a monologue or even sharing what’s really going on with me, but I know that’s a bit of a cop out excuse. At Mission Minded Conference on the long weekend, the speaker used a simple example of an ice berg to illustrate what a prayer life should be like. Our public prayer lives should reflect a much greater reality of our private prayer lives, like the tip of an ice berg, particularly in ministry. On a weekend where it was, to be honest, the last place I wanted to be, I was rebuked and very glad I went.
Then this weekend we had a youth group meeting, going over the basics of preparing and writing youth talks. We each had to share the process we go through when we’re preparing a talk. The leader suggested that we go to NextGen (a camp designed to train youth leaders in preparing bible talks and handling the bible well), and I too quickly suggested that most of us were too old for it. Someone mentioned that there was a middle aged man there last year. When did I become so old and so wise to suggest that we were beyond learning about handling the bible well? Throughout the rest of our time, the leader made a few gentle comments that I feel were directed toward me about helping others if we feel a bit further along in thinking or experience, and that even time away together as a team was valuable.
The church service last night was also a youth service, and the talk was clear and simple, one that didn’t really teach me anything new. But it reminded me of my sin and of God’s grace, that we are saved not by obedience but for obedience. I need to repent of pride and bitterness, and unwillingness. I need to keep holding to the cross for my salvation and for the new life I live and my progress in the faith.