Neither my wife nor I ever wanted to go into the ministry. Much of it had to do with the fact that we weren’t living as we should. Life would change that when we surrendered our lives fully to Christ, but we still couldn’t see ourselves as spiritual leaders.
One Sunday our church announced that they would be having a singing group from a nearby Bible College, along with a speaker from the school (the Dean of Students) to sing and give a message. They said they were looking for families to house the members of the quartet in different homes and they wanted volunteers to help. The group would be ministering Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and on Sunday Morning.
We were new Christians and eager to help so we raised our hands and offered our home and spare bedroom to assist in the cause.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. They arrived on a Thursday afternoon in November. We were responsible to feed the quartet member/Bible College student that was assigned to our house each night before we went to church. After dinner the first night our guest asked me what I did for a living. My wife, Shirley, was standing nearby listening in on the conversation as well. I told him what my job was, after which he asked me the big question.
“Do you like your job?”
My answer was a definitive, “No.”
He responded simply, “Then why don’t you come to Bible College?”
To his suggestion both my wife and I roared with laughter…and I answered, “No way.” That is one thing both my wife and I have clearly said was something we would never do. No, we won’t be going to Bible College.” I looked at my spouse and we both rolled our eyes in agreement.
Famous last words…and eye-rolls.
That night at three in the morning I opened the eyes I had rolled earlier and found myself wide awake. And to my surprise, I was thinking, not just about going to college for the ministry. I was also thinking that it was indeed what I was supposed to do with my life. I wasn’t sure why I was having this sudden turnaround in my thinking; but those were my thoughts nonetheless. I believe I had heard “the voice.”
At that precise moment I heard my wife stirring.
I asked, “Shirley, are you awake?”
When she responded in the affirmative I said, “You aren’t going to believe this, but I think we are supposed to go to Bible College.”
And she said, “Well, you aren’t going to believe this. But I have been laying here thinking the same thing.”
Within a week we were registered and within two months we were attending classes in a Bible College in Mount Vernon, Ohio. And following graduation, we have been in full time ministry ever since.
The ministry is the hardest, most joyous, most difficult, most satisfying calling in all the world. I have wanted to leave it several times, but never could walk away. It is the greatest honor, holding the greatest challenges, and offering the greatest amount of joys of any other profession. And it has provided us with more criticism and more blessing than any other calling could. We don’t just help people find their way in this life. We help people find their way to and through eternity. Consequently, it carries with it a level of fulfillment that can’t be rivaled by any other vocation.
But I would warn: don’t attempt ministry unless you are sure that God has called you. Without assurance of God’s call on your life to do the ministry, it could be very hazardous to your health. It is why the Lord discouraged several, who in a moment of emotion, thought they wanted to follow the Lord in ministry (Luke 9:57-62).
But if you feel that God might be calling you, I would advise: follow Him. You will never be sorry you did. In fact, like Jonah, you might pay a dear price if you don’t. But if you say “yes” to God, you might be challenged. You might find it difficult. You might experience pain. And you might have moments of doubt. But you will never be sorry for serving God in the greatest adventure and task of all time: His rescue of the world from eternal annihilation.
“And He (Jesus) said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).