A Terrible Calling and a Complex Life

I am coming to the awareness that as my calling in life concludes, these latter days of ministry may not be as well received as on the front end of my journey with Christ?

When first restored to life spiritually back in 1973, my future held so many possibilities and seemed as if I was given great favor.  Leadership opportunities were always abundant and with each year the intensity of those opportunities compounded.   In fact, my life has seemed cyclical, with ever 5-6 years a major thrust forward into a new arena that earlier I might have felt totally unprepared for. 

Whether somewhere along the line I got off course and am no longer a candidate for the conventional pastoral role, or God allowed my weaknesses to be used to His good, keeping me from the very thing that culturally I was best prepared?  In my understanding I felt called to preach the gospel.  In my culture, that would have led me toward formal preparation and eventually ordination to serve a congregation.

I am now 61, have been ordained twice by two entities and refused ordination from another.  Every time I have gotten close to being offered opportunity to minister, even being offered churches, I have felt the need to decline, even resigning a couple times to avoid the typical pastoral role.

Is it fear of risk or lack of confidence?   I don’t think so, for I have already taken the risks vocationally that so many speak of and often resist, and for crying out loud I stuck my name on placards across our community in the face of a well loved incumbent and won my current position of Mayor overwhelmingly! 

Is it that I do not care for people?  I love people and I love to comfort those grieved, displaced or in places of struggle with life.  In fact that might be what is underlying this entry, as I was recently in a home with many strangers, sensing the openness among them as well as the spiritual vacuum.  That’s a pastor’s heart, I even enjoy presenting to large groups, in fact find the most joy there, if I sense purpose in my presentation. 

Maybe its rebellion?  If so, why would God not leave me alone, removing the need to pick up His word with each new day, hoping for some instructional wisdom that I might apply on behalf of my community?

Just like this morning, reading from Ezekial15-18,  the prophet describes the future of unfaithful Jerusalem and I find my heart grieving once more for the American church, now in that same position!

Maybe my concept of preacher is flawed, or the means has changed and I am in fact one?

One thought on “A Terrible Calling and a Complex Life

  1. I love the points that you make in your blog and in your book. I really enjoyed reading it. It is challenging and humbling. I continually ask the Lord to help us to maintain our focus on you and our mission that you ordained.

    One of my heroes, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, said that “The responsible man seeks to make his whole life a response to the question and call of God.”

    I just finished Repo last week and I am now reading Bonhoeffer & King by J. Deotis Roberts. In a chapter called Context of Decision: Bonhoeffer, I fell in love with the concept of Status Confessionis. It has to do with assessing the identity and integrity of the church. I am convinced that this is just as critical in 2010 as it was in 1942 when Bonhoeffer introduced the concept. Status Confessionis points to a crisis in the church in which the church may cease to be if the crisis is not resolved. The response is a matter of faithfulness and obedience on the part of the church…it has to do with solidarity with the body of Christ…The response requires redefinition of the church’s confession and perhaps a regrouping…as the body of Christ and as followers of Jesus. These words sounds like Repo.

    Speak Lord for your servants are listening.

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