Ok, I obviously do not blog much, but with my oldest daughter going off to college, it has made me reflect on some things in my life, one of which is the calling of God.
I was reading Galatians 1 and Paul is defending his apostleship. He reminds the church that his calling did not come from man or an organization; neither did the gospel he preached – it came from Jesus Christ. As the old song goes, “The world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away.” To please men was neither Paul’s motivation, nor source of authority.
I remember the day the Lord sealed in my heart a calling to full-time ministry. I was in a small church in Hereford, Maryland. My cousin, Brian was home for the weekend from Valley Forge Christian College. During the message, the Lord seemed to grab my heart in such a way that I could not shake him. There was this strong sense that I needed to either follow God with all my heart or quit playing games. After complete surrender, there was another pull on my heart to attend the same school Brian was attending. I remember saying to God, “I will say yes, but you have to bless me tonight.” After the message, the altar call was given and I found myself standing up at the front of the church and my grandmother praying for me. She kept saying, “Let go Keith, just let go.” It was a call to surrender. It was then that God touched me with the Holy Spirit in such a way that I will never forget. I did not want to leave. After that I went to find Brian and share with him the good news, which promptly tried to talk me out of it. He said that if God did not call me, it was going to be too hard. But I knew it was God and I never looked back; however, I am reminded often of that moment in which God called me.
Tuesday was our final dinner with Stephanie before we drove her to Springfield Missouri. After dinner we read Galatians 1 together and I reminded her of when God called her. She was nine years old. The kids were having a one-day fast for hunger awareness at the church we pastured in West Virginia. When one lady began to share her experiences in Pakistan, Stephanie’s heart came alive. She knew then her life’s mission: to be a missionary. She has never swayed from that even though we have not pressured her to pursue it, but it is who she is.
You can’t forget “the call.” You may run from it, but it will track you down again and again.
The ministry is not for the faint-hearted. Like the Apostle Paul, you have to know who called you. And when things get tough, you have to come back to that moment and declare your purpose.