Sometimes you just have to be there…
My phone rang, a call from the parent of a student I hardly knew. Matt is a senior at one of the high schools that I visit and has played on my son’s soccer team. I knew Matt was very involved in his church, and while he was a very nice kid, he was not one of the “unchurched” kids that I pursued. I always said “hello” to Matt when I was on campus, nodded across the quad and gave him a fist bump when we passed close enough. The truth however is that I really didn’t know Matt very well.
Matt however sensed a connection, and when it came time for him to be awarded the Eagle Scout award on Sunday he asked if I would open with the prayer of invocation and complete the festivities with the benediction! He said things like, “I can’t imagine anybody else doing it”. Likewise both his mother and father shared how excited he was for me to participate in the Eagle Court of Honor. Frankly I didn’t really have the two hours on a Sunday afternoon – but I got dressed up and celebrated with Matt and two other Eagle Scouts.
Every local dignitary was there – and I was so very glad that I had gone and played a small part in Matt’s special day. Later that day Matt’s mother emailed me the following:
Thank you for being there for us today, you did a great job. We had some Mormon friends attend and I felt glad you were there to pray for the invocation and benediction. I have done some Bible study with them, and although we had some rousing discussions, I felt they had a point when they said that they know Christians who don’t live holy lives and whose speech doesn’t reflect what they claim to believe. You represented us well. Thank you.
Patricia : )
The lesson I’ve learned from Matt is simply that sometimes you’ve simply got to be there. I don’t really think about it – but I’m on campus on Monday after the big football win to congratulate the team. I’m at school the next day after the cops busted an underage drinking party and I can offer hope to the kids. I’m there the day after the tragic accident where local teens died. I’m there to witness the bullying and offer a word of encouragement.
Sometimes you just have to be there and see how God will choose to use you. Will you join me?
is a 20-year youth ministry veteran who has worked full time for Campus Life for the last 14 years. He serves on two campuses weekly and runs several campus ministries both on and off campus in partnerships with local churches. Rob has been interviewed several times in Jonathan's podcasts on TheSource4YM.com and Jonathan drew from his expertise throughout his book, Connect: Real Relationships in a World of Isolation. Rob serves on the national Campus Life team at Youth for Christ USA.