Invitation to Inspiration

by gary-foote on August 14, 2010

This past Wednesday I had the opportunity to spend the day with many youth ministers at a “Youth Ministry Convocation.” This particular convocation was a lot of fun for me because I was able to connect with a few youth ministers who I have known for over 13 years but have not seen for some time. One of my youth minister friends, David, shared with me something that surprised me. As we were talking about our years working in youth ministry during the lunch break, he casually said, “And of course you know you were my inspiration for beginning my work in youth ministry as a missionary.” I’m not sure if David saw the look of shock on my face, but I didn’t comment on what he said and just gave him the opportunity to continue to tell me about how God has worked in His life and in His ministry. After our lunch break was over, I began to think about what David had shared with me.  It has been 10 years since David and I worked as Catholic youth missionaries. Since our time in the “missionary field,” we both have continued to work in Catholic youth ministry. During my years working in youth ministry, I’ve had the blessing of mentoring and training many great youth ministers, but David’s words really struck me. While recruiting and training youth ministers, I have been very aware of what I was doing. However, David never asked me to train him, mentor him, or anything of the sort. At the time when David began working in youth ministry, I was just a novice myself so I really didn’t have much to offer him. So what was it exactly about my relationship with David that inspired him to start his youth ministry career as a missionary? I remember having a conversation with David before I began my year of missionary work where he asked me what I planned on doing with my life. I told him about how I had committed to working as a Catholic youth missionary for the next year. After giving him all of the details, I then said, “David, why don’t you apply to be a missionary too?” Over 10 years later, here we are still working in Catholic youth ministry. The inspiration that I was able to offer to David was an invitation. I invited him to think about serving God, the Church, and young people. He embraced the invitation and allowed it to be an inspiration.

Catholic theology teaches us, “faith is our response to God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church #26). God initiates (or “invites”) us to embrace Him in every opportunity where we respond with faith. This invitation can be our inspiration to deepen our relationship with the Holy Trinity but only if we allow it. As I look to a new week, I hope that I can recognize the many times that God will initiate something and ask me to respond with faith. I pray that I might be able to allow His invitation to be my inspiration.

P.S. David, if you read this blog, thank you for being such a wonderful and holy man of God. You’ve challenged me to become a better man through the witness of your life. God bless you, your beautiful wife, and your ministry!

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