I had a Sunday School teacher named Miss Agnes. She loved Jesus, my fellow budding biblical scholars and me deeply. She dreamed about Jesus and had visions. Miss Agnes told my mom and dad that I would be an ordained minister some day. They were thrilled. I wasn’t. Sailing through my high school years, I discovered that I was the target of a vast conspiracy. Other Sunday School teachers, relatives and even pastors who hardly knew me, all conspired to keep the idea alive.
I tried very hard to run from it. I thought I had some very creative excuses-not good enough (still very true); terrified of speaking in front of people (still somewhat true); God can’t use a sinner like me (a more personal variation of ‘not good enough’), as well as a host of others. In my first year of college I discovered that they were not as cool and original as I thought. I quit running and said “Yes.” My parents were thrilled. Finally!! Some friends were not surprised, others said, “You’ve got to be kidding!!” And me, I was just glad the chase was over. Thirty seven years later and no regrets. I wouldn’t have missed the ride for anything.
Like God’s call on all of our lives, my call to be a pastor has nothing to do with my being good enough, smart enough, talented or gifted enough. I don’t deserve the call. Honestly, knowing me as I do (and God knows me far better than I know myself), I would not call me to be a pastor. However, God did. I believe that God’s call on a my life, and anyone’s life, is about what God sees in terms of whom and what we can become if we obey and respond to the call. I believe that it’s all about God unmerited love, aka grace.
It is definitely not about me. Yes, my first year or two contained some rather large ego trips. My first pastoral appointment was a group of loving, wise Christian people who knew how to gently and firmly deflate ego my trips. At times, I still forget it’s all about God and not me but God brings me back to reality – sometimes gently and at other times, not so gentle. Now 37 years later, I still wonder in amazement at what God has done through me. I am more awed at what God has done in spite of me. I can’t boast about my call. I can only be amazed and thankful.
God has a call for your life. The call may be for pastoral ministry like mine. Your call may be for something entirely different. Stop running. Say “Yes”. Buckle up for the ride of your life. I’d love to hear about your call. Send me a comment.
My next post on the call will be about the power of the call.