“They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do.”
Last week marked the 10th anniversary of my ordination. People ask me all the time how I decided to be a pastor (a question that is inherently flawed, because most of the time I hardly realized I had a say in the matter at all). You think by now I’d have a concrete answer or elevator speech already prepared to just recite, but most of the time I just start talking. As I do I can tell almost immediately if what I am saying is what the person asking wants to hear. You see a lot of people who ask are waiting for me to recite one Aha! moment where God spoke so clearly I knew I had no other choice. Others are waiting to hear about a calling to a life of poverty and service. Still others want to hear a pastor’s desire to save souls like Billy Graham. And in truth, I have experienced each of those. But they aren’t necessarily the reason I am a pastor. The reason I am a pastor is far more simple, and only because it is the 10th anniversary of my ordination am I going to let this out of the bag. Are you ready?
Because I want to.
I want to be a pastor. I want to tell people about the amazing grace and unconditional love of God. I want to help center people’s hearts and lives in meaningful worship. I want to help build a community on earth that resembles the saints in heaven. I want to celebrate God’s blessings with people. I want to point people to mercy when things go wrong. I want to.
And believe it or not, I’m not the first person to admit it. The Apostle Paul came to the preaching game a little bit late. You see, he was a little too preoccupied persecuting Christians at first. But at some point in his ministry he set out for
Jerusalem to speak with the established (albeit in infant) church about the shape of his work for the gospel. He laid it all out there for James and Cephas and John, and when he finished the three pillars of the church asked only one thing of him: That he remember the poor. And do you know how he responded? He said, “Perfect. That’s exactly what I want to do.”
I don’t mention that to justify my reasoning for being a pastor. I mention that because it’s justification for each of us to put our desires for the world at work in the world. What are you good at? What does the world really need? And finally, what do you want to do?
Do you want to shape the minds of young people? Do you want to fight for the innocent or hold the guilty accountable? Do you want to care for the environment? Do you want to work in your home? Do you want to perform on a stage? Do you want to grow food for hungry people? Do you want to make sick people well? Do you want to help sick people die well?
What do you want to do? What are you waiting for?
Take it from me. God has placed those desires in you. They are holy longings to sacred vocations. What you are eager to do for the world, God longs for you to do in the world.
Why be a pastor? Because I love Jesus. Because I know how much Jesus loves me. And because it’s actually what I am eager to do. May we all be able to say the same.
It’s funny watching the face of the person asking. I can tell almost immediately if my answer is satisfying to them or not.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.