Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: Distracted


      This past week, my attention turned toward Arkansas Razorback baseball. The NCAA Tournament Regionals had come to Fayetteville. I had finished my ministry tasks for the week and spent Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Baum-Walker Stadium cheering on our Hogs. The end result wasn’t what we wanted, but as always, it was fun to watch these young men give their all as they closed out their season. 

      I bring that up because I wasn’t thinking much about ministry. I had finished my ministry tasks and was at all the things I needed to be at, but my mind was locked in on college baseball. Those that know me well, know this is a more recent obsession. I had watched baseball in the early 90s, but that changed after the 1996 MLB strike. Is it okay to have interests? Sure. However, we never need to let those interests divert us from the work that God has set before us. Am I thankful for the opportunity to attend all the regional games we were in? You bet. Will I go almost any time I get invited to a game? No doubt. It is a great time to root for our Razorbacks.

      How do we balance our ministry/family responsibilities with those other things we enjoy, but can eat up our time? It is not an easy thing but, left unchecked, it can be a huge detriment to the things God holds at a higher value. This is especially true if you work with students. Are you known for your interests or your love for God and family? Over the years, my students have known of my love for Star Wars, Superman and all things nerdy, but did they think of me as someone supremely invested in God and His Word? They have seen my efforts in taekwondo and running, but have they seen my love for my wife and children? Balance is difficult because it starts with you and me. Here are some ways to try and keep things balanced:

         • Evaluate what you talk about the most. During my running years, I repeatedly used the marathon and its challenges as an illustration. Running is a great form of exercise, but as it rose to a greater place of prominence in my life, I talked about it way too much. Look at what is coming out of your mouth. As ministers and people of God, we should be able to talk about a wide range of things to enable us to have spiritual conversations. However, if that one thing is all we talk about, we may be dwelling on it too much.

         • Fill more of your time with God and His Word. With smart phones in our hands, it is easy to become obsessed about way too many things. We can go down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos and Twitter stories and, before we know it, a couple of days have passed. While that is an exaggeration, it is not much of one. The better choice is to spend our time with God and His Word. Not only will our words be shaped by the Word, our actions will also be changed. We are like sponges — whatever we absorb comes out when we are put under pressure. Let that be God’s Word in us.

         • Be intentional with your family. Whether it is your children or spouse, relationships don’t just happen. We need to think through our time with our families and put into action things that will honor God and shape us to be better family members.

      As those who serve God through the church, it is important that we have hobbies and interests that allow us to find renewal and rest. The problem comes when our interest moves to obsession. Let your obsession be God alone.