When I got back from lunch today, a work associate of mine approached me and said, "You're SO lucky God has called you to ministry. Now you can sit back and only have to work one day a week. Good luck and enjoy working at Club Med!"...I thanked him for his congratulatory remarks and began explaining to him that a pastor's life is blessed because they are paid to do what Christians all over the world are not paid to do: study and teach the Word of God through words and deeds so that God may have ALL the glory. While the pastor's life is tremendously blessed with this...it is also a remarkably dangerous position (spiritually dangerous, more often than physically-Luke 17:2) and while you may "work" one day a week, you are on call every second you are on this earth. If you're a Christian, you know what I mean. The needs of the world and the service they require don't have a time clock you just punch in and out of at the end of a long day. Your service "time clock" is the entirety of your life.
I came back to my office and prayed that God would help me to understand just how to convey these thoughts best and also to minister to my own soul as to answer some of my own questions. I have physically seen the toll ministry can take on a family and I am willingly and wantonly pursuing that life for my family despite some internal conflict.
I opened up my email box and an automatic email that I have subscribed to sent me this article:
"God's Call Waiting" by John Ortberg.
Amongst other things, he states:
"A calling, though we glamorize it, is not glamorous. It is a response to a summons. It is a kind of surrender. It is a willingness to die to the past and move to the future. C.S. Lewis wrote, "To follow the vocation does not mean happiness, but once it has been heard, there is no happiness for those who do not follow." Aeneas does not want to leave his home to follow his calling; it means leaving old dreams and old loves. But there is a larger and better destiny to which he is called to submit. So Jupiter says of him, "That man should sail." And he does. Sailing means embracing the pain of leaving behind what he thought was his comfort and fulfillment. It means trusting that somehow he is not just moving into the future; he is being led. It is Abraham leaving Ur for he knows not what. It is Moses leaving Egypt for a land he will never enter. It is Jesus walking the Via Dolorosa toward a hill he does not want to climb. "That man should sail." It meant—a little like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show—it's better to have the faith to embrace reality with all its pain than to cling to the false comfort of a painless fantasy. That life and growth and meaning can come only in the risk of obedience. The future—even if it's hard—is better than nostalgia. It meant that in leaving port there was something to sail to. It meant hope." [my emphasis added]
I wanted to share that with you all, because as we continue to wait on the Lord for the place He would have us serve, we are ecstatic to be leading others as they pursue worshipping Him, but we are also very aware of the changes on the horizon. Turning the page to the next glorious chapter requires that we leave the old chapter behind. I clung to the last line that I emphasized above, because that's what I have, hope. I have nothing but hope that while we are leaving behind a few dreams, possibly the closeness of family (proximity wise of course), and other things which I am sure I am forgetting, we get to do what we were meant to be doing. That is an amazing thought, and we are truly thankful to God for the opportunity to serve Him in this way.
If it all seems overly dramatic, you have no idea how dramatically God has had to move in our hearts to get us to here and we wouldn't want to be anywhere else (even if it made it easier).