1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. 7 She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. (Luke 2:1-7)
Augustus decreed. At times in youth ministry we respond to others decrees which to us seem pointless and inconvenient. These have us doing things we’d not ordinarily choose to do and going places we’d not ordinarily chose to go. Leadership can see us obligated to go to meetings, write reports, follow policy procedures and deal with mundane issues that seem only to be a distraction from our task of bearing Christ to those in need and seeing Him birthed in their lives.
Most often we see these “inconveniences” as the stuff of life and ministry. They are what needs to be done and so we do it. Joseph could have refused to go – the task of bearing the Son of God was much to important for it to happen far from home in a messy stable. Mary could have protested at the discomfort she had to endure and set about the more spiritual task of preparing for motherhood. Similarly, we have no shortage of what might seem more spiritual (or just more enjoyable!) pursuits, but we put up with these inconveniences because it’s expected of us.
But what if these inconveniences were in fact part of God’s will for us? What if He sees a bigger purpose and plan for these inconveniences. Even if all He is teaching is obedience, responsibilty and patience, is that not sufficient? Joseph and Mary responded to Augustus’s decree and went, doing what was expected of them but in the process fulfilling God’s prophecy from long ago regarding the birth of His Son.
Reflection: What are the “inconveniences” you are expected to put up with as part of being a leader? What qualities do these inconveniences develop in your life? What good may come from them?