Then I was constantly at his side. I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind. –Proverbs 8:30-31
Many months ago our church hosted Mark DeVries to come and spend some time with our parents and youth ministry team. He made a quick remark that has become so vivid for me and many of our volunteers, it was an “Ah-hah” moment. Mark was talking about one of his own children who was in a difficult season during the teenage years and one particular youth worker knew the special ingredient, delight. In a stage where Mark and his wife were tired and worn out, an adult leader delighted in his daughter.
My dear friend Nancy is one of my favorite youth workers because her delight for the Lord spills over onto everyone she knows, especially teenagers. This crazy woman calls everyone on their birthdays singing some crazy made up song, writes letters to the sick or those who have drifted away and best of all she greets students each time as if they had just won the lottery. Chap Clark says that every kid longs to have their names written in the sky and Nancy does that.
When is the last time that we found out that a student was in counseling or left our church because we delighted in them too much? Delight is a cousin of Joy, which is a fruit of God’s Spirit and scripture says “against such things there is no law.” – Gal. 5:23 So my translation is “slather on an extra spoonful of delight” when we have the opportunity to greet any student in our ministries.
Here is the caveat, there are those that are easier to delight in than others. I must always remember my personal story and how I wasn’t the easiest teenager to delight in, which made it shocking when adults actually loved my ugly and not just my infrequent, well-behaved side. We delight because HE first delighted in us.
I am convinced that young people will endure terrible Sunday school lessons, lame retreats and cheesy games for adults and friends who delight in them without restraint.
Thanks Mark, Nancy and the army of Saints who delighted in me.