Seven Wonders of the Word.
Now the word of the Lord came to me… Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak for I am only a boy.” – Jeremiah 1:4, 6
Yesterday we touched on the fact that we are all called to serve, to love, to spread the Gospel. No matter where you find yourself, no matter who you are and what you do, in the waters of your baptism you are called. Some are called to provide particular service as pastors, people such as yours truly. Others are called to be parents, teachers, farmers, (insert your calling here) or whatever role you play. But the formal calling I am most familiar with is the call to ordained ministry.
Each pastor I know has a unique story of call, and yes I have one too, but we aren’t going to get into that right now. But let’s just say, I didn’t always want to be a pastor, I knew better. There were people I went to seminary though who nearly gushed with joy at the thought of their call to be pastors. Their theme song is the hymn “Here I am, Lord.” The refrain goes this way; “Here I am, Lord. Is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart.”
This refrain answers the question in the verses of “Whom shall I send?” I as I said many of classmates were like Arnold Horshack in the old TV show “Welcome Back, Kottter.” Ooh-ooh-ooooh! Pick me, pick me…. They sang this song with wild abandon and often were so enthusiastic about their callings that quite frankly they scared me a little.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am now thrilled to death that God has called me into this place as a pastor. I can think of nothing else I would rather do and most days my job, well its about as good as it gets. But if you would have mentioned the possibility of me being a pastor back in my younger days I would offer a polite, thanks but no thanks. As I have studied the word, it seems that I am in good company. Moses, Jonah and our friend Jeremiah as well as many others, confronted with the call of God don’t immediately go “here I am Lord.”
So, you might be asking; “why did you accept this call to be a pastor?” Good question! In part it was because I heard the call, and was nurtured in it by others. People pointed out gifts and skills that I had, my family and others nurtured and cared for me even when I was a slightly moody teenager. In all these things the way was being prepared for me to hear the call and to finally respond.
How often do we nature others so that they might be able to more fully live out their callings? How often to we keep our eyes out for what God is doing in others, even the unexpected ones? Part of our call as baptized Christians is to pray for and encourage one another in our unique callings.
May God bless you in your call where ever or however that may look today and remember what God calls you to, God equips you to do!