Serving and Waiting
Waiting can be challenging. This is especially true when it is something good that you strongly desire. Over the past few months, my wife and I have been waiting for God to summon us to a ministry position. As we wait, we wonder at the wisdom of God as He prepares us.
Seminary is all about preparing for ministry, yet it can be demanding. The schedule and lack of sleep can be grueling—both physically and spiritually. Personally, the hectic pace of four years in seminary left me exhausted. Since graduating, however, I’ve wandered into a stage of life with a slower, quieter pace. This new stage has given me opportunity to revel more deeply in the Gospel than ever before. God has pruned, sanctified, and hopefully matured me over the past year or so. The result is a stronger love for Him and for the Gospel. Once a pastor, I will be thankful for my time in seminary, but I may be just as thankful for the respite of these intervening years. I cannot think of a better place to be than where my wife and I find ourselves right now. Yes, we desire to find a place to serve in the future, but we are blessed to have the fellowship and support of a wonderful church family at Eden.
About a year ago, I sat across from a member of Eden at a coffee shop. At some point in our conversation, I lamented about my lack of pastoral leadership, expressing how I felt I was wasting my seminary degree. He graciously reminded me that my degree is not about a leadership position. Rather, it is a gift of God to be used to teach now—formally and informally. He reminded me that I was called to be discipling and loving others around me regardless of position or status. So over the next few weeks and months, I began meeting with men to begin doing what I desired to make my full-time vocation in the future—making disciples.
As we’ve visited various churches, my wife and I have seen the enormous need for strong pastoral leadership. For instance, many small congregations have little to no leadership. At Eden we are blessed to have many elders and many men who desire to be elders. It's not that way everywhere. Several churches we’ve visited were being led by only one man. Moreover, churches are filled with hurting people who need the love of Christ. Some of these churches have gone through severe trials and pain, so churches need wise, loving, and joyful leadership.
The need should remind all of us that God could call us away at any time. Whether planned or not, God could be preparing any member of Eden to answer the call to help these churches. How essential, then, that we be faithful in using our gifts now where God has called us.
The need also reminded Christa and I of our inadequacy for these things apart from Christ. We've found it easy to be timid or afraid of what the future holds. Instead, we cling to the truth that Paul shared with Timothy, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” With these divine words, we serve and wait for His summons.