This summer, I will be working a few jobs. The one I am most excited for is my internship. God has blessed me with an amazing opportunity to serve Him this summer as a youth intern for a Nyack alum, Justin Reese. Since I started this job just last week, I have been learning a great deal already; most recently in youth group Sunday school. This Sunday morning, God taught me two incredibly important things I will need in life, and particularly for my internship this summer.
Since I go to Sunday school as a leader to these teens and pre-teens, the prominent goal in my mind is not to learn. I attend Sunday school to do my job– make relationships with this church’s students. We talk and joke around but when the lesson starts, it’s easy for me to block it all out with the mind set of “this doesn’t apply to me, it’s for the students”. But, this Sunday morning, God taught me quite the opposite.
As Justin got up to speak, and the students started to settle down, he grabbed our attention with the idea of a “God side” and a “people side” of our lives. He asked if, as believers, God will ever reject us. The students shook their heads in a corporate “no” since this answer seemed obvious enough. Next, Justin asked if people will ever reject us. The students nodded their heads “yes” wondering where exactly their youth pastor was going with this. “Is that why we spend most of our time trying to please people, and less time trying to please God? Because we feel like we have to earn people’s respect and love, but God’s will always be there?” This caused silence to fall over the room, because Justin had just brought up a serious truth. People– even believers– have the goal of pleasing people at the forefront of their mind most of the time. Justin then went on to make the point that, as Christians, our goal is to spend 100% of our time pleasing God, and 0% of it pleasing people. This doesn’t mean that we go around hating people and being bitter, but when we strive to please God, and only God, we will strive to please people too. The difference is that we will want to please our brothers and sisters, not to gain their approval, but rather out of our love for our Creator.
As I drove home from church that morning, I thought about how everything that God was trying to get through to me in that simple message. First of all, He made it incredibly clear that I will learn as much, if not more, from this internship than my students will. Beginning this job, I feel as if I am on the cusp of a very formative time in my life, and I need to be willing and ready to learn in all circumstances. Secondly, God also made it incredibly clear that my mission is to love and serve God this summer because that is when I will truly love my students and serve them to the best of my ability.