Friday, February 19, 2010
I was new to youth ministry when the youth pastor asked me to oversee the junior high and senior girls. In my grandiose ideas of living like Christ, I decided to emulate the actions of Jesus. In my mind, it was going to be spiritual and holy and absolutely fantastically amazing!
But if you've ever done youth ministry, you know that there's always ONE kid who will mess up a plan, an event, or a moment. Yes, that ONE kid who believes they know everything, they're always right, and they could've done everything way better than you ever could have. And yes, that ONE kid came to my event.
The event was off to a great start. Tons of sugary snacks, greasy pizza, and cacophonous laughter from teen girls excited to sing karaoke and stay up all night. I gathered the girls up and explained to them that I would be leading them for the next couple years of youth ministry and wanted to serve them like Jesus. As an act of service to girls, our leadership team decided to wash their feet in basins of warm, sweet smelling water.
As worship played in the background, each leader washed and cleaned each of the girls feet while I shared the passage in John 13 where Jesus humbled himself and washed the feet of the disciples. It was emotional. By the time I finished reading and grabbed a basin there was only ONE girl left to be attended to. And yes, it was the ONE girl I didn't want to even get near to.
I looked at her feet and had to smoother the gag reflexes forming in my chest. It looked like she walked 10 miles in tar and her toe nails hadn't been cut in 40 years. Of all the girls here, I said to myself, I had to get this ONE.
As I touched her feet and slipped them into the bubbly basin, she began to weep uncontrollably. She buried her face in her hands and through painful sobs she apologized to me. She apologized for being negative and allowing her bitterness to over take her. She explained that she felt as if no one loved her... not even her mom. Yet as she heard the words of Christ read aloud and had her feet washed, she knew she was loved. Loved by God and loved by me.
Boy, did I feel like a schmuck!!! I started crying and confessed to her that I needed to apologize too. We were sobbing wrecks. But sobbing wrecks who felt the presence of Jesus in that room.