I don’t have to remind you.
For many of us, it’s time to hit the list again.
create list eat breakfast shower mark things off fake list
make new list…
It’s one way we can attempt to keep control on what is otherwise an uncontrollable world. Our lists help organize our life. It helps us make sense of our often overwhelming busyness.
Unless you’re my friend Katie.
Katie is one of the students in my youth group. At the moment, she’s one of my inspirations.
Our church recently organized our now annual “Youth Sunday.” It’s the one Sunday of the year where the youth are completely in charge of the entire Sunday morning worship service at our small country church.
The youth pick the music, lead the music and often play the music themselves. They pray. They take up the offering. They offer testimonies. They preach.
Our first night brainstorming to bring alive this year’s theme of ‘Broken Together’ had us dreaming about making a video to illustrate some of the youth’s ideas. Thinking I would have to dust off some extremely rusty video editing skills, Katie, normally quite quiet and shy, volunteered her services as video editor.
Thrilled that Katie was not only willing to participate but skilled enough to do such a thing, I pounced at the idea.
Over the next few weeks, Katie and I communicated during meetings and through text message about the concept of the video, which quickly turned into a music video. I filmed quick clips on my iPad and transferred them via jump drive to her Mac.
Keep in mind, I hadn’t seen a bit of proof that Katie can edit video up to that point. My Type A tendencies were stretched to the limit, entrusting what I hoped would be a crucial cog of our worship service to a teenager with self-professed abilities and skills that I just don’t have.
I was mindful of what I was asking of Katie. Teenagers these days are busy. Our youth are athletes, musicians, dirt bikers, part-time workers, academicians, outdoorsmen, bakers, and otherwise social butterflies some of them. They do lots of homework. They have lots of family obligations.
For Katie’s sake, and mine too, I was careful to give her times to opt out. The job was too big for me to handle properly; I just assumed it would be for Katie, too.
After texting her one evening, asking her to add a few things to the video and feeling like a jerk youth leader for adding to her list of things to include in the video, I followed by saying, “You’re a peach. I owe you something after this!”
Her response astounded me:
“Nah, it’s not like I’ve got anything better to do anyway.”
Where was Katie’s list? Where were Katie’s obligations? Katie is a teenager! Why isn’t she up to her eyeballs in busyness!?
Katie is smart, artistic and plays in the school marching band. She has friends and an engaging family. And here she was, telling me she was completely open to everything I was throwing her way.
This teenager had made herself available.
God can work with the available.
God turned an available boy shepherd into a king. God turned another available teenage girl into the mother of the Messiah.
When Jesus called his first disciples to begin his ministry, he called Peter and Andrew while they were fishing.
“Follow me,” Jesus says, “and I will make you fishers of men.”
Immediately the brothers dropped their nets and followed Jesus.
The trio kept walking and came along to find James and John. Jesus called to them, too. They dropped their nets, got out of the boat, left their father behind and followed Jesus. (Matthew 4:18-22)
I’m asking a lot of you, Jesus probably could have told them.
Maybe they responded, “Nah, Jesus, it’s not like we’ve got anything better to do anyway.”
The disciples made sure they were available.
For the disciples, there truly wasn’t anything better to do than follow Jesus. There could be no extra-curricular clutter for the disciples to take the place of Christ in their lives. Mending the nets? Nope. Changing the oil on the boat motor? Nope. I even bet Peter’s wife had to take the trash out once or twice, waiting on him to come home from Jesus’ world-shaking sermons.
Worship of the Savior of the World was enough.
Katie’s video was extraordinary (see it here). It not only met my extremely high expectations, it exceeded them. And I’m pretty sure the introvert’s only complaint this whole time has been that she’s been thrust into the spotlight because of it.
What does your list look like this morning? What is keeping you busy? Are you available?
Check your list again. Is there anything better on that list than being… available?