Monday, November 02, 2009

Called: Consider the Cost

What does it mean to be called to ministry?  How do you know?  Charles Spurgeon gave some help to his students regarding this very question.  Over the next four to six posts I will be going over some of the criteria for understanding calling.  Why should you read these?  There are two reasons, first, to evaluate yourself in light of these things, and second, to help you determine who in your ministry might be called into ministry.  Hear it goes.
                “The first sign of the heavenly calling is an intense, all-absorbing, desire for the work.:
                When I was nine, I wanted to be a fighter pilot.  To be honest, I still wouldn’t mind that line of work.  I love to fly and I would love to get my pilots license, some day.  When I was thirteen I decided to become a youth pastor or missionary.  Over the past 15 or so years of ministry there have been a lot of days where I wanted to quit and do something else.  I bet Spurgeon had those days too.  I can even remember a couple of weeks where the only thing that kept me in ministry was the realization that I was not qualified to do anything else.  I would have to start over in whatever profession I switched to. 
                Those days seem to pass and most of the time I get reenergized and the passion for ministry returns.  As we read the book of Acts I can’t help but think of the passion that kept the apostles and Christians going.  The days when I feel like quitting are usually because I got a couple of bad phone calls from some parents, frustration with “church politics”, or maybe I just flat out got tired.  A bad day for Stephen got him stoned, Peter and John were thrown in prison, others were beaten, and still others were dragged before ruling councils and the like.  Still their passion burned.
                This passion, this all-absorbing desire is not a whim or some kind of passing thought.  These desires are well thought out considering the costs of ministry.  Those costs can be significant.  Ministry is not only hard on one person, but it is hard for families.  It’s earthly rewards are, generally speaking, not significant.  When asking yourself if you are called, begin by considering the cost.

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