Today, I am more committed to the call to be a faithful pastor than I have ever been; I feel that I must do nothing else and that I can do nothing else. The yearning to carry out my calling constantly grows and grows, so that I am restless with even now with what has been a GREAT joy: seminary life. I read today and article about John Piper’s call to preach, and I was nearly brought to tears as the passion for ministering to a flock of Christians overflowed.
Piper says that during the time of His calling his desire continued to increase “to address a flock week after week and try to draw them in . . . to an experience of God that gives them more joy in him than they have in anything else and thus magnifies Christ.”
Then, an excerpt of a letter Piper’s father wrote to him, he is asked: “Just ask yourself, son, if you are prepared not only to preach and teach, but also to weep over men’s souls, to care for the sick and dying, and to bear the burdens carried today by the saints of God.”
What a heavy burden! But it is the only one I will consent to bear. I can do nothing else. I MUST do nothing else. I feel compelled with all the weight of God’s calling to forget everything the world offers and spend every ounce of my strength in preparing a people who are righteous before the Lord, a people who love God deeply and serve Him faithfully.
Oh but my greatest fear, the great temptation is echoed by Piper, from his testimony on his first day as a new pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church: “Not so much that I will fail—as the world counts failure—but that I might succeed in my own strength and wisdom and so fail as God counts failure.”
Oh God, keep me faithful! I can do nothing without you! Keep me faithful! Teach me to lean wholly and completely on you, distrusting myself and my heart, despising my own strength. What a mystery, Father, that you have chosen the weak things of the world to serve you so. Give me strength in your Word. Let me never fail to stand on its authority! Open your Word to me so that I may know it deeply. Father, keep me faithful. I go as your servant wherever you lead, though it be to anonymity to serve in quiet faithfulness, to distant places to declare your glory among pagan people, to suffering of myself, to unendurable spiritual/emotional/physical pain…God, I will follow you. Sustain me by your power. Uphold me by your righteous hand. You are my strong tower and I will run to you, calling others to seek shelter and joy in your presence. Blessed be the name of the Lord!