Season 1 - Week 6
“Whoever has ears to hear”
“Jesus began to teach by the lake… all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge”
Picture the scene. You’ve taken your youth group for a weekend trip to the sea. Everyone’s invited, church kids, their friends and the kids from the local estate, who you know through some of the detached youth work your team has been doing. It’s been a busy day and anything involving water always involves a scary risk assessment. But it’s been worth it. Some kids from the local estate have never out of their locality never mind to the sea! Just look at their faces, playing ball on the beach, eating ice cream, mixing together in a way that just does seem to work on a Friday night back at the church hall. Legend! Looking forward to the conversation we will have with them later on tonight; particularly with the kids from the local estate.
Jesus was a top communicator. People just loved to hear what he had to say. This particular late afternoon he had dropped lots of great nuggets. But the thing that had stood out the most to the writer of the gospel was the story of the four soils. Tough message because he was telling them there and then – “Hey peeps, not all of you are going to get this. Most of you are loving this now, but where will you be in a month’s time?”
This is our reality as youth workers. We put lots of effort into creating the perfect backdrop to communicate the kind of wisdom young people need to hear, to help them to ‘make it through’. But so much is going on in their lives, that you and I know much of the wisdom they get today, will be robbed from them tomorrow.
Sometimes it’s the families the young people come from. Week after week you work with those kids, but you know an older brother or a parent with troubles of their own can undo it when they get back home in a matter of minutes.
Jesus suggests in this story only a fraction of people really get the message. Does that cause us to question, what’s the point of all the effort we put in to engaging young people? It shouldn’t!
The sower in Jesus' story continues to spread his crop even though he knows that only a fraction of it will grow.
So it is with our youth work. It takes courage to keep sharing God's love without necessarily seeing any response. It takes courage to present an alternative way of living which feels so alien to today's culture. We have to keep going, week in, week out, year after year. So let me encourage you to just keep doing what you’re doing!
Let Psalm 27:14 inspire your courage this week:
"Be strong and let your heart take courage. Wait for the Lord."
Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.”
Can you remember the moment you decided to go into youth ministry? Remembering why you started, or how God called you to it, will help you find the courage to keep going when it gets tough.
If you're feeling like there's a lot of weeds, birds or rocky ground at the moment, find someone you can ask to pray for your youth work.
Think back over your ministry so far. All the conversations, interactions, talks, prayers and more that you've invested into young people. Some of that will come to mind as seed that fell on fertile ground, but what about the rest? Take some time to pray now for the moments which appear less fruitful to you and invite God to keep moving in the lives of those young people.