A Word To Those Called To Ministry

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Don’t confuse the call with the caller.  The call is a spiritual, somewhat mystical moment, where a believer in Christ begins to understand the purpose and role of his life.  Through scripture, God called individuals for certain purposes. Moses, Nehemiah, Esther, Samuel, David, Saul, and the list goes on.  The way God called was as creative as what he called people to.  A burning bush, a quiet voice, a bright light, a beauty pageant, etc.

In my own life, I sensed the Lord calling me to serve our region’s ministry leaders.  I had no idea what that would look like, and over these last twenty plus years, I have, in a variety of ways, sought to remain faithful to the call to support the ministry of the church in Illinois and the Midwest.  Through the gifts God has given me of music, apostleship, and leadership, I’ve had a blast doing this hard and fun work through Harvest Ministry.

But as I am reflecting here, I sense God speaking in a new way.  The call is a gift.  It’s a tool.  It’s a springboard. It’s a motivator and a driving force.  But it’s a gift from the one who calls us – Jesus. If I had to be honest, I would have to say that at times, I have had more of a relationship with the call than the caller.  I have spent all my energy and time working on the structures, details and plans for what I have been given to do more than trusting and continuing in the relationship with the one who has called me to do the work.  I have at times, both knowingly and unknowingly, sacrificed direction and connection from the creator because my nose was in the grindstone of the work I’ve been privileged to do.

This may not be evident to the general public, the church, and the folks who encourage me and cheer me on in so many great ways.

But, I don’t want to sacrifice one for the other.  The call is important, but it may only be for a season.  The ministry I have now is only for as long as the Lord leads me.  In heaven, I won’t a leader of a ministry or a “resource for the church” I will be one of his. I don’t want to confuse that in the here and now.

I also don’t want to grow so confident and comfortable in the gifts I’ve been given that I miss more from the one who calls!  What if everything I have done up until now is intended for the next step and the next phase?  I don’t want to be stuck in the call without constant connection to the one who calls. Who knows when it may change. It’s only through a vibrant relationship that I will discover it.

Anyone in entrepreneurial ministry has this one issue – who lets us know we are done?  How will we know we have completed the work or when it’s time to move on?  At times, these types of ministries run their course. Practical reasons may bring them to a close – out of funds, out of opportunities, out of energy or leadership. As I am plowing through in this mission I want to be attentive to God’s direction, joyfully and humbly committed to God and his direction for me at any given time.  I sense a greater need to be connected to the caller and less connected to the call.

For years now, I have closed each daily journal entry with the phrase, lead me on.  For probably more than twenty years this phrase has actually been shorted to LMO.

My prayer today is that the Lord would lead me on. And that’s my prayer for you – that you would be led, in step with the spirit.  As we grow in our relationship with God, the ministry comes naturally.  Let’s not become so in love with what we are doing we miss what God is doing. Let’s grow in our attentiveness and alliance to God’s voice.

The call to ministry is a vital one.  But a vibrant relationship with God is what keeps things growing as we live out our call.

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