It’s amazing isn’t it! There are times when you are doing your very best and nothing seems to be happening. Sometimes it even feels like a lost cause.
In El Cajon, Ca. we saw a need to minister to the un-churched children and teens of our community. Each Wednesday we ran our van and a bus into the community to pick-up whoever wanted to come. What we discovered was that many of the children were absolutely great, but there were a few that could give you gray hair.
My friend, Don and I agreed that we would teach the teen class. I knew the kids from riding my bus and had built a good rappor with them. They liked me and Don and we liked them!.
On one very difficult night, the teens came to church in rare form. They would not quieten down. I pleaded with them. Nothing happened. I used my low voice of authority. Nothing happened. I raised my voice, and if anything it got worse. I could not get a sentence out without a major disturbance stopping me.
I closed my book and I said, "Get on the bus!” They ran out of the room and fought to get on the bus first. Someone asked, "Where we going pastor?" I said, "I’m taking you home! You refused to behave. I’m done with you! I’m taking you home."
There was a long silence. Then one girl spoke up from the rear of the bus: "Pastor, don’t give up on us. Don’t give up on us.”
She stabbed me in the heart with her words. I didn’t want to give up on them. I just did not know what else to do.
The next week we went back and picked the kids up for one more opportunity to share the life changing gospel.
I have since heard the pleading voice of the young girl, many times over the years. There have been times when things haven’t gone as I had hoped or planned, times where I’ve just wanted to quit. I've felt, "Beside what difference does it make?" Then I hear, “Pastor, don’t give up on us.”
A few years after I left California, I later heard that one of those teenaged girls on that bus was killed in a drive by shooting. I pray that the time that we were together, talking laughing, and even pleading for their attention, did not go “Void.” I pray that they will remember the people who gave them a ride on the bus, taught them, played games with them and loved them. I hope they remember that the message the pastor and volunteers shared was the message of Hope.
“Pastor don’t give up on us.”