Statement of Call

Shepherd with flock

I trusted God to save me from my sin at a very early age, and that trust continued until my adolescent years when I just walked away in frustration at what I perceived to be an all-around failure, both of my elders and of God, to live up to the expectations of scripture. My reasons were really a lot less complicated than that sounds, being a typical rebellious late teenager, but such was the power of my rage at that time that I joined the Air Force to get away from it and immediately started searching elsewhere for my answers.

Later, as things fell apart around me and I realized none of the alternatives I’d tried were producing the results I wanted in my life, I reluctantly reestablished a relationship with my heavenly Father as my earthly parents urged quietly and patiently in the background. This time wandering the world in darkness produced a strong faith full of knowledge of the terrible (and yet joyous!) weight of the truth of Grace. There’s not a day that goes by in which I don’t struggle with sin, the same sin that drives me to my knees in confession and joyous acceptance of the undeserved favor of God.

It was at this time that certain gifts awoke within me. Suddenly the Bible began to make sense in ways it had never done so before. I could see connections; feel the pervasive truth of each passage. I found also that my ability and desire to Bible Studycommunicate, which prior to my conversion were already honed tools, became for lack of a better word “supernatural.” The sudden appearance of these gifts was accompanied by an overwhelming need and desire to serve, and it wasn’t shortly thereafter that I was in school, on a path to change careers entirely and follow God’s call to ministry. Anytime since then that doubt about the authenticity of my calling creeps into my heart, God renews the joy of His Word within me through little encounters with others who keep pointing me back to the path. These little revivals, little encounters with the providence of God have been irreplaceable in building my confidence in Him and his guiding hand in my decision to enter vocational ministry.

[Update July 2012]

The funny thing about re-reading what I wrote above is that it is all still true. The character and nature of that call to ministry has changed, though. No longer will I box God in to what I believe my call should be. I’ve learned that this call means, first and foremost, that I should recognize and enjoy the small opportunities to be a minister that present themselves in my daily life. That means training my children to be God-fearing young people, loving my wife when she needs encouragement, and keeping myself on the right track. It also means living the grace of God before others’ eyes, so they’ll see the truth through my life. I think until I can get a handle on keeping all of that moving in the right direction, God is absolutely right in keeping me from the pulpit.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t jump up and Spurgeon everyone to death given the chance, of course. I just hope I’d have the honesty (and that others would hold me TO that honesty) to admit I’m no better at it than anyone else I preach TO.