It is a day of celebration! Tonight we return to Veritas, my favorite mid-week activity! I'm so excited to gather with these students again tonight and see what God is up to in their lives over the summer.
But also tonight Cassandra and myself will speak. Words will come out of our mouths about the Bible, about Jesus, and about what he has to say to our students in their lives right now. People ask me a lot if I still get nervous when I speak in front of a crowd. The truth is I never get nervous about who I'm speaking to. Tonight I'll be in a room of 30, and I'll feel roughly the same way as a couple of weeks ago when I was speaking to a room of 200. The idea of speaking to people in a room never bothered me.
What I'm trying to speak about, that concerns me greatly.
Tonight I will for all intents and purposes speak on behalf of God. I will open up our Scriptures, I will read them, and I will make an interpretation of what they are saying to these students. Everyone who preaches does this. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying (either to you, themselves, or both). To make such an interpretation is basically to say "What God is trying to say here is this..." That's nerve wracking.
And it should be! I think if I was ever completely comfortable with speaking on behalf of God, I will have violated a commandment or two about idolatry. There should be a healthy fear of what I'm about to do. I think it keeps me grounded in the task at hand. God has invited me through this calling to preach Good News to these teenagers. Who am I beyond a nerdy kid who flunked out of music school?
I read a quote by Nadia Bolz-Weber recently that has been banging around in my head ever since. "Nothing is God's favorite material to work with." It is true that I have nothing to bring to the table. That's what makes it so beautiful. That God would choose me as building material for these young people is huge, exciting, liberating, and terrifying all at the same time. And I love it!
I wish more of us would remember this humility when we speak. Not just in formal settings in front of people in churches either, but rather in all the discourse of our lives. Are you getting into an argument on Facebook? Humility. Are you a politician in a debate in primetime? Humility. Are you about to walk into a grocery store packed to the gills with frustrated shoppers? Humility. This humility thing can go a long way. When we remember we are nothing, we are able to see God truly at work, the same God who said "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness."
So get small today. See where it takes you!