Oh I can gloss it up. I could tell you I'm an Associate Pastor. I could go on about how I have other responsibilities that make me more than what my calling would have you believe.
But I'm a youth pastor. And most days I'm perfectly fine with that. After all, it is a calling and it's something I love. But one thing I no longer even try to deceive myself about is that people are listening to me. I give announcements at youth group about items which teens will ask about later, as if I've never spoken. I'll share ideas with big people (you call them adults) and their eyes will glaze over while they wonder what the senior pastor thinks. I preach and often wonder what, if anything, people hear.
With all this ignoring going on, you might ask why I blog. Oh, another day, people, another day.
Despite this, I continue to convey truth, even if nobody hears me. I'm a youth pastor.
I'm a dad.
For anyone that has been even a little impacted by Hollywood's portrayal of dads, this means I am a goof, a dork, and answer to my wife. Disobeying me is glorified and what I don't know is better for the whole family.
My reality, with my family, is a bit different. I do lead my household, partnering with my very capable wife. My kids respect my decisions for the most part. After all, they are still kids. But I can think of many times when what I have to say is dismissed as, 'He has to say that. He's a dad. He waved goodbye to cool a loooong time ago.'
But I didn't. My sweet dance moves prove otherwise. Nevertheless, I continue to lead my family, when they want to be led and when they don't.
I'm just one guy.
How can one guy make a difference? Like one small boat in a torrential storm at sea, my influence is minuscule and my success rate seems nonexistent. Though I fancy myself as making a difference for a few, if not for all, it seems obvious why my voice will be drowned out among a sea of voices. After all, I do not have a huge platform. There is no reason for people to look my way, in any area of my life.
So why bother?
For that, we turn to 1 Kings 18. We're in the midst of several great episodes starring Elijah the Prophet and Ahab the King. It's remarkable to me that Ahab did not recognize himself as the foil in these stories. One might think, with bad choices leading to worse consequences, you might start to ask if you were the problem. Not Ahab.
Elijah, while seen later as a great prophet of God, was just one guy on the outskirts of the kingdom, seen as causing trouble for Israel whenever he opened his mouth. In fact, that's exactly how Ahab sees Elijah.
When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?” ~1 Kings 18:17
Elijah, wasting his breath, informs Ahab that the opposite is actually true. But those in the dark (Ahab) see those in the light (Elijah) as if they in the light were actually the ones in the dark. 1 Kings 18 shows us this is not a new problem.
So should we really be surprised when people grow weary of our truth and persist that we're the stubborn ones? The judgmental? the naysayers? the impatient? Should we stand in shock as our voices go unheeded and ignored? Or worse, should we be offended when blind people tell us our antiquated views are incorrect?
So, though most of the roles I have leave me in a perpetual state of being ignored, I'll continue to talk. I'll keep living the truth, God give me the strength. And what about you? What role do you play that the world ignores?