Putting It Out There
As incredibly excited as I am about starting this journey towards ministry, I have admittedly been rather quiet in my discussions about it. I’ve shared this only with my immediate family, some very close friends, and my church congregation. Well until I started this site, I suppose.
Frankly, I’ve been quite nervous to share it. If you’ve read my “about” page or my post about my call, you’d know that I do not consider myself to be worthy of ministry. So I’ve been hesitant to speak of this to those who might question my decision or my motives. I suppose this illustrates most clearly where my shortcomings in my faith exist.
However, this morning’s Old Testament reading really spoke to me. It was the beginning of Isaiah 49:
Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations:
Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.
He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor.”
But I said, “I have labored in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand, and my reward is with my God.”
And now the Lord says—he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord and my God has been my strength—he says:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the Lord says—the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers:
“Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
There are many interpretations of this scripture, but one of the things I learned in my synodically authorized ministry training was to listen to not only what the scripture says historically, contextually, and critically, but what it says to me spiritually.
To me, on Sunday during its reading, it confirmed to me my call to ministry and what I have felt God pushing upon my heart to pursue. The idea that this was a path God had chosen for me before my conscious decision–even before my birth, the thought that he kept me until his time was right, and that he might use me as a medium to share the Gospel, I find exceptionally humbling.
The response that I would give to such a claim is, “I have labored in vain.” Literally, all I have ever really done in my life has really been for me, about me, and to the benefit of myself, and for my own personal gratification and benefit. I can truly say that to this point, I have spent my strength for nothing. (For what is it for a man may inherit the whole world, but lose his soul?) I deserve nothing if not condemnation, but instead God has provided me with a reward–a purpose, and a mission.
He has called me to be one of the team who works to bring people to faith in Christ, to let my light shine for Him, that others might see. He does this even knowing that when Christ claims his throne, the kings and rulers of the world will relinquish their power to Him, without the aid of any human.
I love that idea and seek to do all I can to spread Christ’s message of love and salvation for all of humanity.