Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Shepastor: "Answering the Call..."
This past week, I celebrated in my spirit two ministerial milestones… July 3rd (1983) and July 5th (1995) …being licensed to preach and years later, being ordained to the Gospel Ministry. The Lord blessed me in a very special way to have male mentors and pastors that embraced, affirmed and encouraged women in ministry. It wasn’t until years later that I came to realize that everyone did not receive the same embrace as a woman called to preach and pastor.
Having said that, answering “The Call,” no matter your gender is a bitter sweet journey. The “sweet” is wrapped up in knowing that you are living out the assignment given to you by God before the foundation of the world…the sweet peace and assurance that you are walking in God’s will for your life…the sweet encouragement you receive from doing what you were born to do…the sweet anointing that rests upon you as you minister to the lost as well as the body of Christ. Indeed – serving the Lord is sweet! There is not one day that I regret saying “YES!!!” to God’s calling for my life.
However, the “bitter” also has its place in this course…the bitter…various forms of rejection whether by those who refuse the good news of the Gospel or by those who reject the vessel…the bitter…being filled with enthusiasm, joy, energy and vision, only to serve among a people who have little or no interest in moving beyond “surface religion.” The bitter…gifted, anointed, prepared, eager but “all dressed up with nowhere to go…” The bitter…giving your all while dying a death of “a million paper cuts” by a flow of negativity, criticism and complaints, not to mention, in many instances, the lack of human and monetary resources.
At times the bitterness threatens to overtake the sweet. Many preachers and pastors find themselves in proverbial caves, like Elijah, wanting to lie down and cover their faces. Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, John and Jesus all, at times suffered from bouts of depression due to the weight of the ministry. So how can we rejoice in the face of such blistering realities?
Below are several things that have helped me over and through some very difficult seasons as I strive to live out my calling…
- Remembering that greater is He that is within me than He that is within the world (1 John 4: 4)
- Jesus’ model of an appropriate response to weariness, pain and suffering… Jesus took time off and away to commune with the Father and he asked his Father why had He forsaken him (Luke 6:12, Matthew 27:46)
- Jesus’ compassion and understanding of us: We can go to the throne of grace and find strength and help in time of need (Hebrews 4: 14-16)
- Remembering that God is the “help” and the “health” of my countenance: (Psalm 42) When I “look at God,” over and above my situation and circumstances, my “countenance” and my health…mental, spiritual and emotional health are helped
- Prayerfully seeking out someone with whom to share your heart…Again, like Elijah, we can slip into a place of believing no one hears, sees or cares. But God always has those who love and serve Him. There is someone to help. Ask the Lord to show you who, where, when and how to reach out to others
- Spending time in worship and praise with other believers…Sometimes that means fellowshipping at another church (if you are a pastor) from time to time…a place where you can hear the word and be refreshed.
- Getting out and having some fun!!! Go to the movies, out to dinner or lunch, watch something silly on TV! Don’t be too serious all the time!
- Listening to music…it is a gift from God to soothe our minds, hearts and souls.
- Learning songs to sing to yourself to encourage yourself
- Even if you “can’t sing,” sing anyway! Singing helps to release pressure, sorrow and even frustration.
Answering the call is serious business. You can run but you cannot hide. The sooner you say yes, the sooner you can get on with the business of learning how to live with the gift God has given you for His purposes, blessing others and receiving many, many blessing yourself! It will not be easy, but you find discover that it certainly is worth it!
Post a comment or send me an email at Shepastor1@hotmail.com
Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,