Words to Myself and My Fellow Ministers

Calvin Miller, in his book, Into The Depths of God, writes:
Jeremiah said of his call that it felt like a fire shut up in his bones (20:9). That fire that kept him going when all else failed. But Jeremiah at Benjamin Gate learned another truth: The holy fire of the call is easily quenchable. Dull churchmanship is a fire extinguisher. Business meetings, deacons meetings, committee meetings, and various assorted congregational criticisms all tend to douse the flame--to quench the fire in our bones.

How wonderful are those churches in which the number of members is identical to the number of ministers. In such a church, laypeople are God-called. Their passion burns. Their inner fire rages. They fry their old alarm clocks and can't wait for sunrise. They have an indestructible spirit. They don't buckle under gossip. They outlast their foes. They survive their critics. They awake to praise God on the mornings of their most foreboding trials.

The call of God is so much more than a divine employment agency. Too often the call is equated with vocation, as if God's call is only valid if it means a job in the ministry. The call is more of a relationship than a vocation. A zeal for God. An ardor for the things of God. Ardor joins the applause of God. The angels cannot help but applaud the kneeling and hungry who are famished for God.
Don't let the weighty matters of your task--or the minutia--diminish the flame. Don't let the business damper the call. Remember that just forty words after saying, "his word is in my heart like a fire, like a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot" (Jeremiah 20:9), the prophet said, "But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior" (Jeremiah 20:11).

Keep the Lord with you--or rather you always with him, abiding in his presence--and the passion, your sense of calling, may still waver--but it won't die.

1 comment:

  1. Forgot to mention; this was a challenge I presented to our leadership team back in June 2005.