We have all seen the Help Wanted sign in the window. Many of us have even taken the time to make application for the job inside. I remember once, just out of high school, I applied for a factory job near my hometown. I was in the main office filling out the form when a man walked in covered from head to toe in soot and looking like he was about to die. He was coming in just to get a drink of water. I saw him and politely placed the application folded in my pocket and walked out. I could tell that job was not for me.
Ministry is a constant call for Help Wanted. The church my family attended yesterday will filled with the most helpful volunteers. They escorted us to first to my daughter’s Sunday School class and then showed us where to meet her after class before escorting us to our class. It was neat, polished, and professional. They did well.
Answering God’s call to full-time vocational ministry can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. I “surrendered” (a word I feel is inappropriately used) to full-time service to our Lord when I was a teenager. I have never regretted that decision or commitment. That does not mean that it has always been great. While I have few regrets in ministry, it has not always been easy and at times, it has never called me to question my calling and my commitment.
In life there are jobs (things we do for pay), careers (jobs we enjoy doing for pay) and callings (things we would do for free, but would love to be paid to do). Ministry is more than a career or a job; it is a calling. It often calls at 3 am to help a person in crisis. It calls when you are on vacation with the family and interferes with your much needed time off. It calls in the heat of day and the cold of winter. It never leaves you alone and hounds you even in your sleep. Now if this sounds harsh, remember that you would not have it any other way.
In ministry you are always expected to be perfect. You are expected to smile and shake hands with people you know are saying false and harmful things behind your back. You are expected to act sympathetic to people who placed their families in jeopardy due to foolish actions on their part. You are expected to always know the right thing to say and do in most every situation. You are expected to care, love, cry, pray, and always be prepared to preach or teach at a moments notice. By the way, your family is also expected to “perform.”
A few weeks ago I stood in horror as I watch my wife backing up her car and scrapping mine in the process. I shouted to her and waved my hands to warn her but to no avail. Finally she stopped, rolled down the window, and asked what the problem was. “Your scrapping the cars together” I replied. At first she denied it but as she got out, she saw the damage. Her next words? “Stop yelling. The neighbors will hear you.” My next words? “They are on my side!”
God’s call for “Help Wanted” is a call we gladly answer, but be mindful; it is not always an easy call to stay answered! The Bible tells us that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance (Romans 11:29). God called you for a reason not for a season! Stay strong and remember that you are always strongest when you are on your knees.