It is good every new year to think about some new things. The Bible is full of them. And things get old soon enough. I found that out with the purchase of my first new car when I was eighteen years old. It was a l958 Ford Fairlane 500 and it cost a total of $2,400. Ten years later it was taken to a local car auction and sold without any reserved bid. A few days later an envelope came in the mail. I opened it to find a check for just thirteen dollars and fifty cents! What disappointment! I still wish I had that car—just for old-times’ sake.
Jesus gave a man named Levi (or Matthew) a new calling. It’s recorded in Luke’s gospel. “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,’ Jesus said to him. And Levi got up, left everything and followed him.” The next thing Levi did was throw a big party to celebrate his new calling. Wow! No evidence here that he complained or questioned his Master, but accepted this new challenge.
Our Covenant Brethren Church needs a wave of new leaders to step forth and accept the challenge to become ministers in our congregations. Might you be one of these? Don’t expect this challenge to always be filled by somebody else. And don’t expect this challenge to be filled by someone from another congregation. It might be YOU who can respond as Levi did. If you have an inner sense God might be calling you, here are three steps to follow.
PRAY – First of all get on your knees and seek the direction of the Holy Spirit. See if he will increase the burden that is placed on your own heart. Part of your prayer should be for God to show you that you have spiritual gifts that could be used in this way.
PURSUE – Share this concern with a few special friends in the Lord. One of these should be your pastor or a spiritual partner with whom you have developed a close spiritual bond. If you are married, of course, your spouse should be included in your deliberation.
PREPARE – Become available for opportunities for study and learning that would lead you in this direction. Specific courses are being developed within the CBC that will be helpful. Offer to fill the pulpit when your pastor is on vacation
Along with individuals who should be open to this new calling, congregations should also be taking the initiative in calling people who are gifted in this direction from within the congregation.
I once heard of a man who was gifted in sculpturing wooden images of various breeds of dogs. Someone asked him how he does it. And he said that it is very simple. He explained, “I just take a block of wood and chip away everything that doesn’t look like a dog.” In a similar way, that is what God does to develop ministers out of us, too.
Please be open to receive a new calling for the New Year!
Jim Myer – Executive Board member