Last night as it was approaching 11:45 p.m. and I was getting ready to turn off the t.v., put my laundry away, and head to bed for the evening I got a phone call. On the phone it said “private number”…now there are not too many people who show up on my phone as private number so I wondered what could be going on. I picked up the phone and it took me about 2.3 seconds to realize that I was being prank called. It didn’t take me long to figure out through the silly accent who was calling me and even though it was difficult for me to figure out what the person was saying I did hear, “Come see your car”. So I left the warmth of my apartment and walked down to the end of the parking lot to see my car decorated as you see above in the picture with garland, wrapping paper, bows, and Merry Christmas and Santa written with window markers on the car. I knew the culprits had to be hiding somewhere in the parking lot wanting to admire their handiwork and see the look on my face. I looked and saw a familiar vehicle with people sitting in it….they saw me notice them to which they peeled out in the parking lot in glee! We had some fun conversations after that and hung out till 2:30 a.m. this morning catching up on their first semesters in school. I have to tell you I feel pretty wiped out today as I write this even though I have tried to chug down some caffeine. I may be tired but it was all worth it!
I guess three things stood out to me from the events of last night…or should I say this morning
1. You have to be able to laugh at yourself
We have to realize we all have flaws, we all do silly things, have funny habits or personality quirks and we need to be able to laugh and joke around with one another. Understand I am not saying that we should bully one another or try to say cutting things and hurt people’s feelings but we need to be able to take a joke. As I think about Jesus and his disciples we tend to hear the stories of the miracles that Jesus did and how the disciples reacted and were involved in the ministry but, I honestly want to hear some of the funny things they did when they were together. Understand I am not trying to be sacrilegious but there is no way Jesus and the 12 disciples didn’t have some good laughs together. I am sure there are lots of funny stories about their adventures together and I can’t wait to hear them! Sometimes it is easy to take ourselves way to seriously when we really need to lighten up a little bit and connect with those around us. So did it take me a little longer to clean up the stuff on my car this morning with the newly fallen snow…yes…but was it worth the laugh…yes!
2. Look for the unexpected opportunities to invest
Our opportunities to invest won’t alway happen in a classroom setting with the Bible in front of us. Was hanging out until 2:30-2:45 a.m. this morning what I had in mind? No not at all. I was actually tired and I was ready to go to bed but then the opportunity came to spend a couple of hours with guys that I haven’t seen in a while. We had some laughs, talked about college life, sports, roommates, and faith. Our chances to be there for people are not always going to be convenient or conventional but even things like getting a burger with someone, taking them with you on an errand to Wal-mart, playing some Xbox together can lead to some good conversations about life and faith.
3. Know when to say “No”
Sometimes people can take the previous statement and say “I always need to be available,” “I always need to be able to be contacted,” “I always have to be there for someone to hang out with,” “I need to spend 5 nights a week out doing ministry.” This is not true! Be ready and willing to invest in people’s lives when God leads you to do so but also know when to say “No” when you need to spend time with your family, your friends, or just yourself. So to my friends in ministry know when to say no. Everyone won’t understand this, not everyone will get it, some will get mad, some will say mean things about you but know you have a responsibility to look out for your health (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically) and to take care of your family. Last night was a great opportunity for me to be there for others…my fiancée had worked a long day, wasn’t feeling the greatest, and went to her house early to call it a night and so I had some time to be there for others. Now if I had already been out several nights that week doing ministry and I hadn’t seen my Fiancée’ very much that week and you asked if I would want to hang out until 2:30 a.m. the answer would have been “No, thanks maybe next time”. I would have known that my Fiancée’ would need me to be there for her. To those of you who are not in ministry whether you are a youth or an adult you are gonna have lots of people pulling at you for your time and you have to know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. You will need to take a look at your priorities and ask yourself if this is the best use of your time for what you are wanting to accomplish. Sometimes you need a day out with friends to just kick back, eat some burgers, and have some laughs. Sometimes you will need some time to just spend with you and God, or maybe to relax and read a good book. There might be other times that someone needs you to be there for them and invest in their life. But if you don’t say “no” to some things you are going to miss out on something you should have said “yes” to.
So even though it was a night of silliness I was reminded of some important things and I hope during this busy holiday season that you don’t forget to laugh at yourself a little, look for those unexpected opportunities to invest, and know when to say “No”!
Have a merry Christmas!!!