hen I was a boy, life always revolved around our little Nazarene church. Mom and dad made sure we were there every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and every night for the two-week revivals.
By the time I was 18, I had an advanced degree in how to behave in church. Sing loud. Pray hard. Keep your nose clean. Be nice. And always keep your ears open, because God might be calling you to Christian service.
So, I listened, and God called me when I was around nine years old. It is hard to explain. I just knew it down deep. I never seriously considered doing anything else with my life. I knew Christ had called me to preach and to shepherd people. It has been a challenging, yet enjoyable, journey. The best part of this calling was being there when people took their first breaths and their last breaths—when babies were born and people were dying. Moments like that put everything into perspective.
I was amazed that, because of God’s calling, I had the privilege of being called “Pastor,” I had a 24-hour-a-day standing invitation to be included in the most intimate moments of people’s lives.
I have loved ministry. Of course, I have at times been exhausted by it, frustrated by it, and hurt by it. But mostly, I have been blessed by it. I yearn for others to know this joy and fulfillment. As a teenager, my pastor knew of my call, so he invited me to go hospital calling with him. He invited me to listen in as he dealt with folks at the altar. He gave me opportunities to preach and sing and teach.
He mentored me through these actions, and so, to be faithful to his generosity, I must pass this on.
Pastor, do you have anyone like that in your congregation? They are there. Seek her out. Find him. They may be the quiet, awkward kids around the edges of the congregation. They await nurturing and tending. They could easily blossom into the minister you had always hoped to be. Deep in your heart, you will know that you have completed the circle a little more. The garden of the Kingdom will bloom in even greater depth and color.
Here is an excerpt from a pamphlet, “The High Calling” that Dr. Dennis Kinlaw shared with me years ago. I have shared this piece written by G. D. Watson often. It begins with these words: If God has called you to be truly like Jesus, He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility.
The author continues:
So make up your mind that God is an infinite Sovereign who has a right to do as He pleases with His own, and that He may not explain to you a thousand things, which may puzzle your reasons in His dealing with you.
This is the high calling that we are to pass along.