It was three years ago this very month that my precious Granny died… one day shy of her 95th birthday. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. On occasion my memories have me bawling my eyes out, but mostly I look to the heavens and praise God for His mercy. After all, she has a better address than I do right now. Grin.
It was also three years ago this very month that I knew without a doubt that God had called me to ministry. I can almost… almost!… laugh when I say that now, but that certainly was not my reaction back then. Scared out of my wits might have hit a bit closer to truth, especially since I’d been battling God for two years prior to that. I’d tried denial. Surely that’s not God calling me. I’d tried excuses. Seriously, God, I can’t even say all the books of the Bible in order. I even tried flat out refusal. God, you’ve blessed me with a great career in education. I spent a small fortune to get three degrees. And please note, God. They are not in theology. Yep. I tried all the stall tactics I could. I even tried some subtle substitutions in attempt to pacify God. You know, a little obedience versus full sold-out commitment. But, God wasn’t having it my way. He continued to pursue me with a persistence and a “hit me on all sides” strategy that couldn’t leave me anywhere but on my knees in surrender.
I’ve spent the last three years trying to figure out what “called to ministry” means. What does it look like? What am I supposed to do? How do I go about it? Am I supposed to quit my day job, sell my home, give away all my possessions? What is ministry? Who am I supposed to minister to? The list of questions rattled in my head like rocks in a tin can. And, of course, you know what happened. The more rattling in my head, the more rattled in my heart. Really, God? REALLY?
I tried all the usual approaches to find the answers:
- Consult at length and great frequency about it with my man. (Translated… talk his ear off, but never give him a chance to answer. Thank goodness after almost 25 years of marriage, he has his part figured out. An occasional “Uh huh,” coupled with a head nod or two, and I’ll still be steadily talking. He doesn’t have to give one answer for me to feel better when I’m done.)
- Cry. Ok. Bawl my eyes out.
- Ask people who’ve been to seminary. Surely they know.
- Beg and plead with God.
- Make God a “to do” list so He can show me.
- Seek God’s Word.
- Pray more.
- I’m not special or unique. It isn’t a select few of us who are called to ministry. It. Is. All. Of. Us.
- There is only one qualification necessary to be called to ministry. AN OBEDIENT HEART!
- Although I lack a great deal in knowledge and skill, God doesn’t.
- Ministry is NOT a job. It’s our WORK. There is a big difference.
- Being called to ministry doesn’t mean I have to go somewhere. It means SERVE WHEREVER I am.
I bet I’m not alone when I say I’ve prayed countless… COUNTLESS!… times for God to reveal His will to me. Over and over and over again. God, just show me Your will for my life, and I’ll do it. Translated I really want a billboard on IH-35 outlining the exact steps, and the exact timing, and a written guarantee that everything will work perfectly.
But I really don’t have to pray for God to reveal His will to me. He already has.
Love Him with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Love others like myself.
When I’m obedient to those two commands, I’m walking in God’s will. I’m being obedient to His call to ministry. I have a new line of work… one with incredible earthly blessings and an eternal reward.
“…Pay attention to the ministry you have received in the Lord,
so that you can accomplish it. Matthew 11:28 NIV
Joyfully waiving the white flag,