“If I ever do a perfect act of love, I’ll probably be proud of it, and then it won’t be a perfect act anymore. Maybe if I die in the midst of performing this act, I could do it.” – man on radio (wish I knew who he was)
When I heard it, this idea struck me. Even my best efforts are littered with selfishness and pride. My “wants” show up in the most unlikely of places – even when I “serve,” I want to be recognized – or I want someone else to take notice and look at me with more admiration, etc. My service serves myself. I’m sinful. Very sinful.
Scripture addresses this too.
Isaiah 64:6 – “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.“
Romans 7:21-25 – “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
So here’s the question: How can I get rid of this? How can I serve selflessly? Of course the only REAL answer is Jesus. He alone has done a “perfect act of love” – the cross. He alone is perfect, and so all of His acts were perfect. Ours are NOT. Nor will they ever be. Our acts of service and sacrifice are always going to be tainted with at least a little bit of selfishness. We are sinners, but because of His “perfect act of love” (the cross), we can receive forgiveness and will be made holy. Our selfishness is forgiven and covered by His blood.
A perfect act of love? This is not a goal for us to attain, but a grace that Jesus has offered to us.
We were a part of an amazing time of ministry while we were in Tomball. It was a perfect ministry storm. No man could have orchestrated it, but God’s ways are higher than ours. (Is 55:9)
Here are some of the pieces I’ve been able to assemble:
- He used Pastor Mike Mathews to begin a process of teaching and training/opening up the eyes of leaders (including myself) in the church. Mike was also the man God used to safeguard the work He was doing with the students.
- Through Mike, God exposed me to a few different ministry models which resonated within me. (Experiencing God, Saddleback’s Baseball Diamond model, and the Navigators leadership training) He also began to reveal a specific group of students that He wanted to reach. He was birthing a vision within me. God was inviting me to join Him in His work.
- He worked within the community to place a longing for real spirituality within a group of students – some of them were skaters.
- He assembled a group of adult volunteers who would connect with students and have a real heart for reaching these “tough” kids. They would also eventually rise up to defend the ministry against all kinds of critics. God worked to make these adults into a real family – they shared more than ministry but their very lives together.
- He gave a special group of students a passion for doing ministry to their peers.
- He used a few fringe students to invite their skater friends and spark a movement of students to become a part of “The Wave.”
- He moved the right people into financial positions within the church who got behind a vision for reaching these students and tripled the youth budget – eventually even adding another part-time youth position.
- He used the week-in/week-out efforts of preparing for this program to help raise up students who would develop into servant-minded leaders. Most are very involved in ministry even now. A few of the current roles that these students are involved in are: Pastor, Worship leading, church planting, small group leaders, missions, Christian artists, Sound/Video/Photography tech, etc.
- He used the program to reach some of the toughest students in the community. We saw the fruit of some of these efforts during those days, but many have tracked me down and contacted me since that time to express their thanks and tell how “The Wave” impacted them. Some who were lost have been found and are following Jesus now.
I recently attended a wedding for one of the students who came to Christ through this ministry. The wedding was full of students who were a part this special time. The pastor, the worship leader, the wedding party, etc were all familiar with this ministry storm I’ve described. Each one of them was another piece of the “Perfect Storm” that God created. Many expressed their gratitude to me that day so I wanted to paint more realistic picture of what really happened. Yes, I was a part of the storm, but it was truly God’s work. I’m grateful to God for inviting me into His work and feel like I’ve been able to see some of the fruit of my labor – however, my labors were only worthwhile ’cause they were joined with His labors. In reality, it’s the fruit of His labors that I’ve been able to witness and because I joined Him, it feels like my labors were fruitful. Truth is: They were.
Because of Him, they were.
And I am grateful.