When I was in high school, I was the quiet one in the youth group. I usually sat in the back of the crowd and rarely made much of a presence. I was an observer but not much of a talker. I was not one of the popular ones. I was just not someone very many people noticed.
Some decades later I had the joy of housing my old high school pastor for a few days. As we shared memories of those years from our personal perspectives he got very sober and confessed what he felt was one of the failures of his ministry at that time.
He confessed that he had always chosen the outgoing, louder, popular kids of the group to pull into personal relationships with him. He would pour himself into these students preparing them for leadership roles and ministry. The “problem” was that as the years went by it was not the kids he thought and chose to invest in that continued in the faith and dedicated their lives to serving Jesus. It was the quiet, not-so-popular, back row kids that turned out to be the ones who, decades later, are still walking with God and are making a difference.
He said he would have chosen differently had he known this truth back then.
Jesus understood this truth. He didn’t pick the best and brightest and the ones that seemed to be the “natural” leaders of a group. He chose the marginalized, the not-so-brilliant, the cast-offs and he included women in his invitation to follow him (Luke 8:1-3; Matthew 27:55-56; John 19:25-26… Jesus even had a woman give the first Easter morning sermon in John 20:17-18). These are not people anyone would have looked at and considered for leadership training!
Don’t trust in the things you see. God is working in the unseen. Look around you. Who are the quiet or rather “invisible” young people in your community? A simple word of encouragement may be all they need to know that God sees them. Better yet- invest in them. I wonder how much faster my growing up in Christ would have been if only I had an older woman who believed I was worth investing her time into. I am convinced some of the mistakes I had made as a young woman would have been different if someone had seen what God saw in me.
If you feel over-looked by others, rest assured, Jesus sees you and believes in you. Follow him!
James 1:4 “Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
by Dawn Lindholm