It was 28 years ago, but I can still remember the text. (Jer. 20:9) I also remember the flame of the Holy Spirit in my inner man. I knew very little. In fact, I was unqualified to even be speaking but circumstances had placed me in the pulpit of a small country church to speak what was on my heart. The Lord had been dealing with me for 3 years concerning the call into ministry and the truths of God’s Word were alive within the core of my being! Thank God, that flame still burns today and is the single impetus to preach God’s eternal Word wherever He sends me.
There are no amount of emotions or human effort which can help a man genuinely survive the burden and calling into ministry. The demands are too great, the stress is too much and the expectations can be overwhelming. In short, it is a labor of love birthed by the call of God within a man’s heart. There will be times when the the fire in our bones will be the only impetus we can fall back on in order to continue in ministry!
The Apostle Paul said, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel.” (I Cor. 9:16) If a man can be satisfied doing anything else with his life, he is not ready to surrender to ministry. Proclaiming the gospel as an Elder/Pastor or Church Planter is not a job…it is, in the deepest meaning of the word, a calling. It is not just a calling given to the man, it is the man given to the work of the gospel! This step should never be taken lightly, with only the emotions of the moment to sustain it. It must be bathed in prayer, counsel and reflection. There must be a counting of the cost, because faithfulness to discharge the call will cost everything!
Personal spiritual inventory, consideration of the work, accountability under a spiritual covering, acceptance of the misunderstanding and commitment in the midst of rejection are just a few of the issues a man must look at. Jesus said to count the cost! That cost is great, the casualties are greater and the burden is consuming…like a fire! Ministry is not to be entered into lightly, unprepared, untrained or immediately. Training under a Godly mature leader is not only healthy and wise, but it is the biblical norm we see in the New Testament. (II Tim. 2:2)
Can you say, “Woe unto me if I preach not?” Is God’s Word a “Fire shut up in your bones?” If not, wait until you can say yes to both. If you can say yes to both, find where the Lord would have you to submit for training, preparation and maturity for the marvelous road ahead!
“Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into this harvest” (Matt. 9:37-38)