I have not, in the traditional sense, ever “surrendered to a call to ministry”. I was called to be a Christian at age 16, some 45 years ago. At the same time, though I didn’t understand it then, I was called to serve Christ full-time. We all are. When we are called to be a Christian, we are called into a life of ministry. Some of us practice that as a vocation, others minister in normal jobs.
1 John 2:6 tells us, “The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked” As a practical matter, this means we must live in a way that shows love to all, and must serve others at all times in ways God intends. That’s ministry.
We have somehow come to see paid ministry staff as “more spiritual” and “more responsible” than the average Christian. We increasingly delegate to them jobs which we as “lay Christians” really ought to do. They have no greater responsibility for doing God’s work than anyone else.
In my case, I really did not see the truth about my personal 24/7 mission until recently. I worked as an engineer and business executive for many years before retiring at a relatively early age. During most of my past, I was “active” in a church; as a teacher, deacon and member of many committees. I never really felt a call to serve as Christ served. I viewed my involvement as more of an exercise in self-discipline. Only lately have I really come to understand that my entire life is to be one of mission for Christ. Ezekiel 1-3 teaches that when we have a call from God, we also have responsibilities. When we fail to perform our responsibilities, we must assume responsibility for the consequences of our failure to obey.
Sometimes, I wonder how many opportunities have been lost due to my lack of understanding. Over the past 45 years, how many seeds have I failed to sow and how much grain have I failed to harvest? I am embarrassed to think about it.
No matter what our mission, we must teach all Christians after us that we have been called by God. In accepting that call, we also assume a responsibility to take the message into all the world in whatever mission God assigns us.
Over the course of the past eleven years, God has led me into a ministry in an unexpected place, Venezuela. Through the leadership of a Godly retired pastor, our church has forged an alliance with a number of churches in central Venezuela. As a result of the efforts of people from our church, thousands have come to know Jesus as Lord. I am privileged to serve as mission coordinator for our church.
The facets of our mission are many. We began as a typical construction and revival mission, working with one church. Over the years we have added Vacation Bible School, baseball clinics, door to door visitation, leadership training, cooking and sewing schools, and other activities as they seemed appropriate. We are the only group supporting this area. I believe God sent us because this work fits our abilities. We really can’t plant churches in distant areas like missionaries can, but we can help provide resources to help grow existing churches. It’s an exciting opportunity God has given. Who knows where it may lead! Wherever it is, I plan to follow for as long as I can.
As a Christian, always honor Christ’s call to live, love and work as He did. It’s your primary mission in life.