Live It Out
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” -Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
Over the past few weeks, I have seen God do incredible things within my youth group. I’ve seen my students engaged during lessons, messages, and small group times. I’ve seen them pray on their own and begin to show interest in reading their Bibles more. It’s been wonderful.
Unfortunately, something must have been in the water on a Wednesday night recently. My students came to church tired, uninterested, and unengaged. During my time talking to them I was met with blank stares, heavy sighs, and a middle schooler that was deep into a nap. My students were obviously not interested in anything I had to say that night.
However, in typical teenager fashion, the minute we wrapped up and dismissed they were talkative, hyper, and wide awake. Believe me when I tell you that I wanted to be the Petty Police. I wanted to call them out on being able to engage in a conversation the minute church ended, but not being able to engage during the message.
But God held me back.
Instead, I joined in their conversation. I chatted with them. I made jokes and we laughed together. I felt the Lord encourage me to show love instead of pettiness.
I believe that sometimes, your students have to see you live out your sermons. The very thing they aren’t listening to you preach might be the very thing you have to show them through your actions.
Maybe that middle schooler won’t remember your scripture reference, but he will remember the way you treat him when he needs a ride home from church.
It’s possible that high school girl didn’t pay attention to the three points you made in your message, but she will take notice of the way you listen to her talk about her school day.
Am I saying that the sermons we prepare are a waste, and that we should focus more on the interactions we have with our students? No. Preaching the Gospel to them every week is important and they need it, whether they realize it or not. What I am saying is that sometimes, it’s not about what’s said, but what is done. As the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Sometimes it’s not enough to share the Father’s heart with our youth. There will be times that we have to show it. And fellow youth worker? Remember this: no matter what there is always someone that hears what God is speaking through you. Whether you realize it or not.
My prayer for you is that you would be a leader that chooses to live out the very Gospel that you are sharing with your precious students.
There will most certainly be times where what you do far outweighs what you say.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us.” -1 John 4:11-12 (NIV)