Growing up in a Christian environment, I have heard more than my fair share of stories of believers who were “called into the ministry”. Oftentimes these accounts vary. Sometimes the Lord is said to have done this for a person by means of a particular trial He led them through after which they vowed to serve Him forever. Perhaps He convicted them under the preaching of His Word with a sermon that pricked their heart. So and so was called into the ministry out of this background, or so and so was called to preach during those evangelistic meetings. The more jaw dropping the story, seemingly the greater the magnitude of the response.
At a young age I sensed the Lord was leading me to the dedication of my life for His cause. This was a laying down of my all: mind, will, and emotions at the foot of the cross and crying with Samuel of old “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8). You could say I felt “called into the ministry”. I use this term very loosely because each of us is called to be an “ambassador for Christ” (II Cor. 5:20). I do understand the context in which the phrase is used however. It has come to mean one who is set apart and called to a life of service in some sort of full time vocational way.
Whenever a person finds out I am training to be a preacher, an almost unfailing question arises: “Oh, so when did you feel called into the ministry?” I have never felt like I actually had one of the remarkable stories mentioned above of how Christ called me into His work. I used to wonder as those testimonies were being shared what it must have been like for that person as they were “called into the ministry.” Was it through some sort of an audible confirmation from above that this was their life calling? Were there any visible indications to those round about that this was occurring?
Some children want to be a police officer or perhaps a fireman when they grow up. Looking back, I guess I always just wanted to be like my dad and my brothers. Luke 12:48 tells us that “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” I can honestly say that I see myself in that verse. One might look a family like mine and come to the conclusion that my brothers and I were somehow “forced” into the ministry without a choice. Quite the opposite is true in fact. I still remember conversations with my dad prior to college in which he tried to push me towards different directions other than majoring in Bible. He did this with all three of us in order to make sure that our desire to preach was something from the Lord. Dad wanted to be clear that our calling was not just because of some sort of superficial expectations we may have felt upon ourselves growing up with our father as a pastor. After all, “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11). This is a supernatural calling and desire. If it is truly of the Lord, it is one that cannot be engineered by any man no matter how false or designing he may be.
However one is called into the ministry, if it is the Lord’s doing it ought to be “marvelous in our eyes” (Ps. 118:23). Ultimately the thought that drives me more than any other is that as I stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and my name is called, unless I have given my all for Him it will be for naught. It will be “wood, hay, and stubble” rather than “gold, sliver, and precious stones”(I Cor. 3:12). When my works are manifested of what kind they are, they will be consumed as they are revealed by fire. My convictions on this issue have only been strengthened through the events of this summer. While we may have never asked for the platform the Lord has given us, if we don’t “fan this flame” who will?
Posted by Daniel