The Busy Youth Minister: Grace Enough to Rest

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Maybe it’s because right now in our Bible study we’re looking at the book of Acts, but when I stopped this morning (on my day off: hypocrite) to put down some thoughts for this blog, my mind went to Acts 20 where Paul gathers the Ephesian elders.

In this passage, Paul says goodbye to these friends, and in doing so, he exonerates himself by claiming that he is “innocent of the blood of all.” (Acts 20:26)

And I thought to myself, “How would I go about defending my innocence before those to whom I minister?”

Sadly, my first thought wasn’t the answer Paul gave: “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27)  It was something more like, “Well, I stayed busy and worked really hard and met with the kids and their parents…and…and…and…”

…And I started to realize that in that moment I had forgotten the gospel of grace.  Paul understood that it was the whole counsel of God that changed lives – it wasn’t his impressively full calendar or how long his appointment book was that gave him hope.

Grace comes through faith by the Spirit’s work, and faith comes by hearing the whole counsel of God.  My job isn’t to be busy, but to be available to speak the truth in love when opportunity arrives.

Our call, then, isn’t to be busy, but to be alert and ready to preach the truth in love.  Our hope is in the power of the gospel.

Paul’s claim to absolution was that he “did not shrink from declaring…anything that was profitable.” (Acts 20:20)  I need to remember that God’s Word is the agent of change; I am just a vessel (and a broken one at that).  

There is freedom to rest in knowing that it’s the whole counsel of God that has the power to change lives, for it means that salvation isn’t up to us.  It makes sense: it is the gospel of grace, after all.  Praise be to God!
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