Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lunch With Jesus

I have been going for lunch weekly with a number of young men for almost 2 years. We started this tradition in their grade 12 year and have continued to eat lunch together regularly after they graduated. Our favorite spot is a place called Pho Tau Bay--a traditional Vietnamese restaurant. We’ve been there so often the waitress doesn’t bring us menus. I’ve even learned some Vietnamese.

Other than that I haven’t had a lot to report--we just ate lunch together. Conversation, if there was any, revolved around video games and mutual mockery. To be honest I found myself frustrated, feeling like I was wasting my time and money. It began to wear on my self-esteem, like I wasn’t a good youthworker because I wasn’t having deep spiritual conversations.

It wasn’t until the second week of January this year that something changed. That week each young man separately approached me to talk about something important that was going on in their life. I was able to share about grace with one young man, another needed someone to talk to after a fight with his girlfriend, another shared about his new job and his feelings of self-esteem in it, a fourth asked me if I thought he would be a good youthworker.

That week God reminded me of 2 truths:

First, that we are not asked to be successful only to be faithful. It’s nearly impossible to measure success or even growth as a youthworker. The indicators are usually intangible, unmeasurable and eternal (or at least long-term.) Even victories like a baptism or conversion 6 months later can look like a failure when there’s no change or things are even worse (not uncommon.)

Secondly, that when we are faithful in the little things, he is faithful in the big ones. I realized I had been minimizing God’s work. Who am I the clay to tell the potter how I should be shaped or what I should be used for. My job is just to be good clay, respond to the hand of the Master and let him create the masterpiece--both in my life and the youth I work with.

I don’t know what next week’s conversations over Pho will be but I do know that at our table there is a seat set for Jesus. I look forward to watching him work.

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