Devotions on the Go – For Youth Workers in the “Busy” Seasons

Youth Workers are always on the go.  We know in our brains that the busier things get the more we need some time alone with God.  Yet, we also know that the busier things get the easier it is to let that time slowly slip away.  Whether it’s a summer mission trip back to back with VBS or when Confirmation, Easter and the end of the school year celebrations all land within three weeks of each other, we’ve all experienced the “busy” seasons… the times when we’re not even sure we have time to breathe and use the restroom, let alone stop and spend time with Jesus.

This series of devotions is designed to help us pause in those busy times, even for just a moment, and connect with our Savior. Pull one out at the rest stop on the way to the mission trip or in your office after lunch in the middle of back to school preparations.  Press pause for a few short moments, turn your attention to God and let Him fill you up again so you can get back out there and do all the awesome things He has planned for you!

Each devotion is centered on a name for God and include a Scripture reference, a devotional story/thought and some questions to ponder as you press “play” again.

I’ve Got Nothin’

I am the Vine, you are the branches. Remain in me and I in you and you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

I remember the moment the word “nothing” in this passage became very real to me.  Up until that time, I think I kind of skipped over it, thinking it was a bit drastic.  Surely I can do some things on my own, right?!?   I was leading my first workcamp mission trip with 25 youth and adults to Hurricane, WV.  Between leaving for the trip the day after VBS ended, some stressful and emotional youth group situations in the week, doing construction work in 100 degree plus heat for 5 days, and a medical issue, I found myself spending the last afternoon of the camp unconscious, riding an ambulance to the local ER instead of finishing our work project with the group.

In the hours and days that remained of our trip, I was completely unable to do anything.  I had no other option but to depend on other people, and more importantly, on God.  I couldn’t help my only other female leader convince 17 teenage girls to clean and pack up the classroom their belongings had exploded all over that week.  I couldn’t rotate into the driver seat for the 2-day drive back to New York.  I couldn’t participate in the after-event activity we had picked specifically to build connections within the group.  For the first few hours back from the hospital, I couldn’t even really walk without some help from my awesome youth.  I HAD NOTHING.

This verse, John 15:5, was the theme of our Workcamp that year, and while perhaps it was quite extreme, God gave me a pretty clear picture of what it means to simply remain or abide in Him.  I had to trust Him for everything!  No matter what I had planned that week… no matter how much I had worked to help the students grow in their faith… no matter how much I wanted it to be a perfect trip, all I could do was rest, let people help me and trust that God was going to work it all out in His plan.  A few years later I can see how He has been doing just that.  The fruit is growing and it came out of being real, being broken and simply remaining in Him as a branch in the vine.  The truth is no matter how much we plan for a lesson or event, life happens and things often change.   In this moment, stop and simply abide, rest, dwell in Jesus and your role as a branch in the Vine. And as you abide in Jesus, remember that He also abides in you through His Word.

Where in the past have you seen God as “the Vine” in your life?  Where are you trying hard to bear fruit right now and perhaps need the reminder to be still and let him worry about the results?   Right now, in this busy season, what does it looks like to find joy in simply being a branch? 

Lord, help me remember that apart from You I can do nothing.   Apart from You, I have no sustenance for life. But with Your word dwelling in me, I can bear more fruit than I could ever imagine, fruit that will last!  Remind me that fruit comes because that’s what a branch is created to do when it is connected to the Vine.  Show me today what it means to be a branch abiding in You, and You In me.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.