I vacillate too many times a week because IT is hard.
I vacillate between calling and quitting – that is, pastoral ministry.
I don’t mind the sound of that, even for people whom I serve as their pastor. In fact, I am beginning to wonder if my wandering thoughts toward quitting pastoral ministry (for reasons that are too familial and spiritual and personal for a public blog) is in reality, my beginning to wrestle with the reality of God’s calling over my life, in the truest sense.
So I am not saying I am quitting. I am saying that the thought of quitting makes me wonder about having been CALLED by God in the first place. Does that make sense? Maybe when I never wrestled with the difficulty of how gospel-living and ministry was supposed to be a battle of spirit-vs-flesh, of Spirit-vs-world… maybe when I never wrestled within my soul and tired body about that normal reality in a world of Christ’s already-not-yet kingdom, I never really understood calling.
Our home has been trafficked by more spiritual upheaval than I thought possible. Most always my sin. But how about loneliness now. How about exhaustion… too little sleep. How about hospitality of a homeless person to recently BREAK me of how I don’t want to be inconvenienced… at all. How about not pastoring my wife and kids as well as I should. How about having the shortest leash in the world for 120 adults.
So I think “quit” when in reality I guess I am looking up to God – my Father – for help about “calling.” Is this how things go in an inaugurated kingdom? Is this my immaturity as a pastor of only 8 years? Is this the collision of kingdom-v-world that will always be, whether one is a banker, a welder, an at home mom, or a pastor?
Calling or quitting… crashing makes me ask.
Sometimes I wonder what Timothy was going through in Ephesus when Paul said to him:
Set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift that you have, which was given you by prophecy when the elders laid their hands on you (CALLING/ORDINATION). Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers (1 Timothy 4.12-16)
That sounds so hard. Timothy, were you vacillating?