|I was trying to explain a decision that seems, at this point, somewhat nonsensical. Or doesn’t clearly benefit our family. One of the joys of raising mature children is having conversations about a wide range of topics. Including, and especially, why we do what we do.|
I found myself hearkening back to the process of becoming a pastor. When first approached about applying, I was honored to be asked, but responded that NCF could not afford my salary, and that I loved my job. I saw no rationale to consider a new calling, and many reasons to stay put.
But God had set me apart from birth and called me through his grace. Galatians 1:15a (CEB)
I have always felt God’s hand on my life, from my earliest memories. Which is not to say that I always know exactly what to do, or that I get a divine memo or map every time I have a choice to make. Day to day, the light touch of the Lord is felt in the breeze, seen in the changing leaves. Taking time to listen amplifies my sense of God’s loving presence.
But sometimes God is rather heavy-handed. The job that I once loved became something I dreaded. Each week seemed to bring new insult, so that I became almost desperate to leave. That was a hard year. Meanwhile, preparing teachings for New Covenant energized me to work evenings and weekends. My health was strangely better than ever, despite the stress of trying to do it all.
He was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might preach about him to the Gentiles. Gal. 1:15b-16 (CEB)
Paul’s explanation in Galatians was a gift to me. I knew that I didn’t have any message to preach on my own. That was my original objection to giving a teaching. But in order to fulfill my (new) calling, God was willing (and even pleased!) to reveal more of Jesus to me, so that I would have something to say.
The salary situation seemed a sticking point. Which is the part I probably hadn’t told my kids four years ago. Also, leaving a tenured union position at the “height” of my career, seemed somewhat foolish. I traded certainty for the unknown. A nine month job where I had evenings, weekends, and holidays free for an all-consuming vocation.
But, as we look back now, it was one of the best choices I have ever made. Saying yes to God has not disappointed me. Rather, we have been richly blessed. There is no question that this has been the best for our family. We are secure in God’s provision, and so grateful.
So, I explained, a current choice might seem confounding. But I can only step into what God is calling. Which affects each person in my family, and others. We don’t always see the blessing. We don’t know what the future has in store. (That’s for sure!) But God is faithful, and good. So we trust in God’s love for us, which has never failed.
They only heard a report about me: “The man who used to harass us now preaches the faith that he once tried to destroy.” So they were glorifying God because of me. Gal 1:23-24 (CEB)
No one around, or Saul himself, could have imagined how his life would change or the ways it would impact the world. But God’s hand was on him since birth. There were certainly hardships, but he would never have traded his calling to God’s purpose for anything.
As we continue on the path of faith, with all of its surprises, may we trust God’s care for us and for those we love. And may others glorify God because of what they see God doing in and through us.
To God be the glory, for the things He has done.