The call to ministry

The heart of a pastor must remain guarded from sin while available to sinners.

The other night that thought raced through my mind until I could contain it no longer. That led to this being written in my journal. It’s raw…very raw.

I don’t know if I am truly cut out for ministry. The responsibility is awesome. First and foremost, you have to keep your relationship with Christ healthy, in tact. That requires time consistently, intentionally spent in His presence. More than the 15 minutes in the shower or a half hour commute. Further, your availability must be constant–12 PM, 8 AM, 3 AM, anything in between. God does not require sacrifice. That would be easy. He requires obedience. I must be bridled and not only able but willing to be used however, whenever, wherever He chooses. Further, God uses what man considers foolish to confound the wise. So no, I have to be willing to look foolish or act foolishly–change direction on a dime, go somewhere where no opportunities appear from my current perspective though there are many opportunities where I am, not being fully certain of what lay ahead or IF I’ll return to this place I’ve grown to love. I will have to love wholeheartedly people who will inevitably break my heart and semmingly donate my heart to ungrateful people, knowing that my heart wil be returned abused, bleeding and deeply bruised. I will have to trust that God can heal those deep hurts and that the seeds sown will not come back void. I will have the responsibility of being a bridge–walked on, overlooked, standing fast in a quick current–to Jesus. I will have to present the Word of God to some who have never heard it; to those who will use my sermons as their biblical shot for the week, month, year; those those who loathe the message I am bringing. I will have to risk rejection as I call people on their bluffs, their lies, their illusions. I will counsel people through the biggest events of their lives–marriage, parenthood, death, career changes, the call of God, illness, lifestyle changes and choices, college choices, how to navigate the gray areas of life. I will have to protect sheep from wolves, sheep from their own pack mentality. I will help to navigate the return to society from the wilderness, from society into the wilderness. I will have to love people, watch them grow and send them out into their destiny, trusting God to fill the void in me that is left. I will stand on the mountaintop and hear the whisper of God in the storm; I will sit at the table prepared for me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death in front of my enemies. I will have many enemies and very few true friends. Many enemies will turn into friend and many friends will quickly turn into enemies. People will see me as a well instead of a person; they will see what I can do rather than who I am or Whose I am. My nails will most likely be painfully short and my hair prematurely grey. Sleep will surely elude me most nights, coffee will comfort me as much as the Holy Spirit. My brain will be picked, my motives constantly checked, my heart purged, my life–past, present and future–under a microscope. There will be no skeletons in my closet, no detail too personal to be exploited. Yet, somehow, I cannot imagine any other life. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I’m foolish. But I choose to walk forward certainly into the uncertain. Jesus asked me if I would leave Him like others have. My response, “Lord, where else have I to go?”

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