If you haven't already figured it out God has made me weird (No response necessary). I have a passion, love, care, and concern for youth and yet I am awkwardly drawn to those considerably older than me. I know, it makes no sense. However, I currently live with a widow from our church and I couldn't tell you how big of a blessing her and her family have been to me. This morning I got up and came into the living area to have my Jesus time and coffee as I do every morning. Ms. Connie and I have made this sort of a routine where we both come in, sit opposite each other, read, pray, study, and then often do a little discussion. This morning was a little different. As I sat reading the Word, she looked up at me, with emotion in her voice, and said, "I need to ask you a question".
Connie explained to me her background in a particular denomination and how she had never been told about being "born again", how those around her called themselves Christians, but she never remembers looking up to someone and knowing they were a GODLY example in her life. She asked me if I thought we were being Godly examples to those around us.
I believe in self examination. I love to see her examining herself even though she is late in years. Oh I know she is shining a light and being an example and i began to encourage her, and then of course reflect on my own life.
Oh it was easy last year in the public school to examine and see if I was shining for Christ. Did I make it a point to reach out to those students who seemed unloved? When students came in to my office for counsel, did I give them the Word and the love of Jesus? When I messed up publicly, did I repent publicly ?(oh yes many times I had to repent to my students or athletes for not acting like Jesus) Was I witnessing, loving, caring, and doing my best to live to a Biblical standard. Did I take the youth in Liberty that were hungry for God and try to pour into them and love on them. All that was pretty easy to gauge and some days were better than others, but what about now?
Now I am payed full time on staff at a church. I spend the majority of my time around Christians and church members. I'm constantly working on things that are for the Kingdom like preparing my 3 messages this week for Bible studies and youth, planning a mission trip to Mexico, an outreach at the ball park, a youth trip to a church service. Preparing hand outs, video announcements, writing cards, sending texts, etc. We have our staff times of prayer. I'm doing homework for Bible school. All of that is part of my job as a "youth pastor".
So this is where I had to take a step back to reexamine. Just because I am now on staff at a church doesn't mean I am any less called to witness to the world around me. So, have I stepped out of my comfort zone at the local Wal-mart to witness or pray for someone? Will I make every moment count to be a light as I go into the public school or will it just be another "Bible Study". When's the last time that I listened to the Spirit before I walked into the restaurant to see if there was anyone who needed prayer?
Just because I'm paid by a church doesn't mean that I'm any less required to let my light shine before ALL men. Connie's deep self examination impacted my heart this morning. I want to love and I want to love deeply. I want the light of Christ to shine forth from me whether I'm in the church office, Christian school, or out in Wal-mart. I want the Holy Spirit to know that I am listening to Him and am willing to obey.
I pray that as students get older that had me in Liberty, students that get to know me now, my youth group, or just those I come in contact with that when they reflect they aren't able to say, "I don't remember looking up to anyone and knowing they were a godly example". I pray that they can look back and know that "Coach Tate", "Ms. Jessika", "Jessika Tate", "Jess", or however they know me, they will know that she loved Jesus, she loved me, and I have to have that Jesus she talked about and followed.
Be Blessed, J. Tate