Don’t Throw in the Towel

So – I heard you want to quit.  Walk away.  Exchange the glamorous life of youth ministry for something that pays and involves appreciation.  I heard you’re ready to throw in the towel.

I understand.  Most days you love youth ministry– if by love you mean survive.  Some days are brutal – and all you can do is simply crave survival.  More than a few times in the last 23 years I have considered throwing in the towel – so I get it.

  • But if you throw in the towel – what are you going to use to wipe up that orange soda that got spilled on the sanctuary carpet during the lock-in? Actually a towel won’t help, that baby is going to stain.
  • If you throw in the towel – what are you going to do when THAT junior high boy at summer camp FINALLY decided to shower….because you know he didn’t take anything into the bathroom with him?
  • Who – and with what – will someone wipe the tears from the face of a desperate mother whose kid has just made a life-altering mistake.
  • Without your towel how can you make a tourniquet for the heart of that teenage girl?  You know – the one who was in love with that jerk, but got used and tossed aside like the six girls before her?  You need that towel to stop the bleeding.
  • Washing the feet of your pastor is impossible without the towel.
  • And where are you going to wipe your hands clean after repairing the chain on your son’s bike for the 37th time – how will you wash the dishes after cooking dinner for your wife because she’s exhausted after a long day of supplementing a meager ministry income?  You finally make a moment to have a tea party with your daughter – and lo and behold, the mater de doesn’t have his towel.

Paul talked about it this way:

“Even though I [could be] free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!  You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.”

If you throw in the towel, what will you use to wipe the sweat from your eyes when the race is over?

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