Sunday, August 10, 2008
If at first you don't succeed . . .
One of my favorite young married couples at church has recently taken over the College and Careers class. In my humble opinion (humble?), that's one of the most difficult classes to teach. It's full of "tweeners." Too old to be irresponsible teenagers and too young to be responsible adults. Stuck right in the middle. No longer a child, but with too little experience to be counted on for much. Anyway, this young couple knows the challenge they're facing. Having taught for years, I can identify with their feeling of inadequacy. I've actually been teaching a Sunday School class, working in Children's Church or ministering in music off and on since I was 12 years old, and I don't think I've ever felt that I mastered any of the arts. There have been times that I've left the church after Children's Church or Sunday School or choir and felt that I had accomplished something very worthwhile. But, just as often, I've driven home feeling that I've made a total mess of something that God meant for good. I could easily be overwhelmed by my shortcomings. Then I look around at all the young people who either sat under me in Children's Church or choir and are going on and doing great things for the Lord on their own. Maybe they're working with children (sometimes their own) or ministering in music, and I feel like maybe, just maybe, I fed into that life a little. Rick Clendenen says in his book, "Playing from the Second Chair" that we should strive to be fathers, not just mentors. Fathers always expect their children to surpass the mark they set themselves. Like a marksman who picks up his bow and aims for a far target. If the arrow falls at his feet, he failed in his mission. Instead, he fully plans for that arrow to fly into the air and hit a mark well beyond where he stands. I may not have succeeded in all the ways I might have hoped; I may have even disappointed a few people in my efforts. But it's the fruit that matters. I see little apples and oranges all around me that testify that it wasn't in vain. This morning, I tried to encourage my young friends to keep trying. Try different techniques. Aim for the sky! Who knows the harvest they may be able to look back upon someday.