It’s amazing how time slips away. I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I’d written, mostly because I’ve just been so busy. In addition to the regular duties of preaching, teaching, counseling, and care, we’ve had some special projects at the church so I’ve added construction to the list. I’m also bi-vocational and the “other job” has been taking a lot of time latel. Add to that our work on putting together our annual homeschool convention and also adjusting to having three new (foster) kids in our family and all that brings with it, and my life has felt a lot like a mid-western tornado moving through the county flea market.
I don’t know if you ever experience this–those times where you feel like you’re neglecting your calling because the many demands of your nefarious responsibilities seem to overwhelm you. I have to admit, it seems like I have so much going on that nothing gets my full attention these days. I wonder if I’m really doing any good in anything. Then I see these kids who have come into our home from a really bad situation. They are finding healing and coming alive and I think, “How can that be a distraction and not a calling?” In spite of what feels like a half-hearted effort at the church, we baptized someone yesterday. It wasn’t me that led them to that decision, it was a church member (and family member of the new believer), which means, some of our people are getting it.
My point is this: Your calling is to a function, not an office. What I mean by that is that as God shapes your character and reveals your identity in Christ, he calls you be something. In my case, a pastor and shepherd of his people. He did not call me to grow a church for him. In fact, Jesus said from the very beginning, “On this rock I will build my church” (emphasis mine). He did not call me to an office in a building. He did not say, I want you to preach and teach from this pulpit. He simple said, I have raised you up to preach and teach. Where that happens includes, but cannot be limited to, a liturgy, time, or place. In fact, to operate as if I can only fulfill my calling at the church building is to betray my calling altogether.
I am not a pastor because I’ve been to seminary and got a job at a church. Those things came, in my case, as a result of the calling placed on my life by God (I realize that some people are pastors simply because they chose to be and went through the process. For those, there is likely a painful process of discovery and redirection ahead). I’m a pastor by virtue of who I am. I am who I am no matter where I am or what I am doing. Fulfilling my God-given calling can happen whether I am at the church building, in a service, or at the “other job.” It can happen in a spiritual setting, or a social setting, or a corporate setting. I can fulfill my calling in the middle of my ministry, or in the midst of distractions. Remember, the things that come up in a day, or a lifetime, may catch you off guard, but God saw them coming from before you were born. Disappointments are the product of our expectations, not God’s call and work in and through us. He’s got this, and our job is to trust, follow, and obey in the middle of whatever may come.
Maintain the integrity of your identity in Christ, and of your calling. Be true to who you are no matter where you are or what you are doing. Trust outcomes to God, and be faithful with now because now is all you have. Like Paul and Silas in prison in Philippi–backs opened, bleeding and chained–praising God. Praising him! Because that was all they had, and God is good. Likewise, now is all you have, and God is good. Serve him, praise him, today. Heed his call in everything you do, because it’s who you are, and watch what God begins to do.