A few years back I wrote a blog post called “Well A Lot” (it can be found at www.clba.org/well-a-lot/), and) the point of it was to encourage youth workers to do the things that they do – “well” instead of doing “a lot”. And truly, doing things “well” for Jesus should be the target that believers strive to as we seek to “do things to the Glory of God.” And as I revisit all of that, I still stand by that post.
But as we walk through this season of COVID I’ve redefined what “doing our best” might mean right now.
Here are two personal examples that come to mind that have helped me to this thought.
FIRST – I volunteer as an FCA huddle leader, and if you had asked me or anyone in our leadership team two years ago if they would have ever foreseen doing our regular weekly FCA meetings in a church parking lot in the winter in Minnesota instead of in the school like they had for years, you would have been stared at as if I were Baby Yoda. But that is exactly how we are proceeding until the school that we partner with deems it too cold for us to be outside. (Our school that this is for is awesome, they just want to wait a little longer before letting us in for FCA.)
SECOND – Last week at youth group one of my team members didn’t show up. The next morning, she sent me a message apologizing and understanding that if I wanted to have her step down, that she would. My response was to call her and to tell her that “I’ll do nothing like that” and if you miss again, don’t sweat it. I told her that especially now, I’m finding that we need to be graceful to people.
Both of those stories and many more have pointed me to see that people need lots of grace as they lead ministries, especially right now.
When your projection tech during your Sunday services crashes your livestream, they need grace.
When the worship team is off, they need grace.
When someone forgets to do the prep that you expected them to do, they need grace.
As things like this happen, we now, more than ever need to have a posture that accepts their efforts and extends grace. I do not know how it is for your church, but at mine we are missing about 25% percent of our people who are only participating in church online. And there are many valid reasons why they are doing so – but as we try to resume some of our in-person ministries, we cannot afford to diminish the efforts of those who are here.
But here’s the thing, what’s driving this conclusion that we need to show grace isn’t that we can’t afford to lose volunteers. What’s driving this conclusion is that everyone is learning how to live life differently and that they are working that much harder and they are tired because of all of this.
In Matthew chapter 11 Jesus speaks words of truth and hope —- words to those who carry heavy burdens and who feel tired.
In the midst of all of that —- listen to these words that only appear in Matthew’s gospel, that Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus said —- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
These words are loaded with promise and grace.
Now, as Jesus invites those that “are weary and burdened” —- it would be good for us to know who He had in mind.
Jesus had in mind:
- Weary people —- that is, those who were exhausted from their tasks and work
- And those with “burdens” —- speaks to those who have heavy things weighing on them
And back in those days there were those who were exhausted from living life
- Maybe it was from the day to day tasks of life
- Maybe it was that they felt that they were spinning their wheels and getting nowhere
- And for some —- they felt weary and burdened because the religious leaders of their day pushed on them the burden of legalistic traditions
We have people in our churches who, when we were forced to go online, did everything possible to help us to do that.
We have people serving now who are maybe scared to be in public.
We have people who have returned who are perhaps compromised.
We have people who are working extra jobs to pay the bills and they are tired.
The point is that as we partner with these exhausted friends, we need to show them the Jesus who says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Be encouraged to find creative ways to thank and support those who are helping you as COVID-19 continues to change our world.