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?