Jesus Himself went to where the sinners were. He said the well and healthy don’t need a doctor, the sick do. (Mark 2:17). We know that He associated with the least of these because if He was only hanging out in the synagogue, the Pharisees would not have criticized Him. One example is found in Matthew 9.
I get to know teens best when not inside the church building. If you would have told me that I would have used my youth ministry degree with my minimum wage, harder-than-I-would-have-ever-wanted-to-work employment, I would definitely have raised one eyebrow at you in serious skepticism.
It started at Chuck E. Cheese. I was still in Bible college getting my youth ministry degree, so it was very easily seen as an opportunity. Even my next job, working at a public school, was quite obviously a ministry opportunity. I saw it as no coincidence that I was interpreting around teenagers most of the time. But this current job: Chick-Fil-A, the haven for the Christian world eating out and some days, the bane of my existence. It took some serious perspective changes to go from just a problem because I need money to a “probortunity” of getting to know young people at a very real level. As I made that adjustment, I reminded myself to become like Paul.
Paul wrote “I have become all things to all so that for the sake of the Gospel I might win some” (1 Corinthians 9:22). I’ve become a birthday coordinator, merchandise director, ASL interpreter, and salad artist (my descriptions). I guess you could say that I’ve become a kid again to relate to the kids these days, but that’s not a difficult transformation, personally (I write as I have a flower pinned in my hair and a TARDIS necklace around my neck).
I’m not discounting youth ministries in the church by any means. I’m just surprised to find the youth ministry in my day-to-day grind. Reminds me that as I GO, as the final verses of Matthew command, I must actively remember I am His light. Get out of my comfort zone. Ask questions, get personal, show that I care, because He cares.
God cares for both the people I serve in my difficult job and for me. This job isn’t the one I wanted, but I can trust God that it is ultimately serving his purpose. I am serving just the people that I need to serve. And with this perspective, I can continue to serve in this harder-than-I-would-have-ever-wanted-to-work employment. Trusting God that the others will be able to see the Gospel in me.