“All the ways of a man seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives. Doing what is righteous and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
“But I’m doing youth ministry the way it should be done.” Proverbs 21:2 teaches us “there is a way that seems right to man.” It’s so easy to fall into the trap of assuming I’m doing the right stuff in ministry, and that what I’m doing is what God wants me to do. I don’t know about you but it’s very easy for me to convince myself that I’m always right. The question to ask myself is whether what I’m doing is right as God sees it? This question leads to evaluation, doesn’t it?
The verse goes on to point out that God knows our motivation. Why do we do what we do in ministry? What motivates us? Success, a huge youth group, being looked up to by our peers, the feeling of knowing that students have put you on a pedestal, being the answer man/woman, feeling needed by others, moving up the ministerial ladder, finances (ha!), our own dreams and goals, the feeling of giving. We can convince ourselves that we’re doing the right thing in ministry, but God knows what truly motivates us.
“Look at all I do for the church, for God, for these students, and their parents.” Verse 3 shows us that God wants us to be righteous and just. Doing ministry God’s way, the plan he has for you, is the result of being in a right relationship with him. You can do and do and do, give and give and give, but God’s not so much concerned about your assumed sacrifice as he is with you walking in a right relationship with him—righteousness over sacrifice.
Now it’s time to evaluate why I do what I do in ministry. Is it because I’m seeking to be right with God, growing my relationship with him? Am I doing youth ministry the way that I think is “right” or am I doing righteous youth ministry? How about you? Have you evaluated what motivates you to do ministry? Are you more concerned about youth ministry than you are about being in a right relationship with your Savior?
Strive to be righteous and a righteous youth ministry will follow.