New. Better. Best.
Those three words are consistently deployed to describe student ministry events. You’ll hear things like: We are launching a brand NEW sermon series next week. This year’s retreat will be even BETTER than last year’s retreat. This is going to be the BEST year in the history of our student ministry.
Those three words are powerful. They are engaging. They are exciting.
They are also exhausting.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a workaholic who was recently told in a performance evaluation that I need to “slow down occasionally” and find ways to spend more time with my family. I am willing to work diligently to make sure that ministry events are done with excellence. I am not complaining. I am simply stating a fact: Yesterday’s miracle is today’s job description.
I was completely naïve to this truth when I began working in student ministry. Being full of passion, I was constantly biting off more than I could chew which led to some colossal failures and some God breathed miracles. When I would gather leaders together after God had done something miraculous, I discovered that my leaders did not want to simply celebrate yesterday’s miracle. They wanted to begin strategizing about how we would prepare for and execute another miracle.
The NEW mission trip quickly became the NEXT mission trip. RECORD attendance morphed into REGULAR attendance. The BEST event becomes a BASIC event.
So what do you do when yesterday’s miracle becomes today’s job description?
Remember who you are and whose you are.
Who are you? You are not the source of miracles. Not even close. You are a sinner who has been saved by grace through faith so that you can be a small part of God’s big story of the redemption of the world. You are an instrument that God has chosen to bring glory to His name, and He didn’t choose you because of your credentials. He chose you because of His cross. You are not a miracle producer. You are a miracle.
It’s a miracle that despite your flaws and failures you have received an underserved grace. It’s a miracle that not only has God transformed you but he has called you to partner with him to transform others. It’s a miracle that God has placed within you all of the gifts, skills, and abilities necessary to accomplish his will in your ministry. You are a miracle.
So if you are a miracle, whose miracle are you? The original author of new, better, and best. The one who breathed life into your soul when you were spiritually dead to make you new. It’s the one who walks patiently alongside you, picking you up again and again when you stumble and continue to get better. It’s the one who won’t give up on you until you become everything He created you to be, the best possible you. You are not defined by what you do but by who made you new, better, and best. You are a miracle that God gave the world so that the world might know the author of all miracles.
So when you find that yesterday’s miracle has become today’s job description, don’t lose heart. Don’t despair. Don’t give up. Turn to the source of miracles and ask God for something new, something better, and ultimately for His best.
Over the last ten years, I have been beyond blessed to witness God at work. I have seen lives transformed by the power of the Gospel. I have seen broken marriages restored and shattered families pieced back together by the unmerited forgiveness of Christ. I have seen people who were impossibly far from God trade their lives of sin for a squirt gun that they use to push back the gates of Hell.
Tagging behind each of these miracles has been increased expectation whispering over and over “New. Better. Best.” Next time those words wake you up in the middle of the night, don’t lose heart. Thank God that He will not run out of miracles as He continues to make things new, better, and best.
Questions to Ponder:
- How can you begin to shift the crushing weight of expectation to anticipation of what miracle God is going to do next?
- How much stronger would your faith be if instead of fearing failure you expected God to do the impossible?