God often brings to my mind people for whom to pray. Sometimes He brings specific people to mind, like Kevin. Sometimes He asks me to pray for a “general” group, like teachers, soldiers, and waiters/waitresses. Today God asked me to pray for another “general” group: those who were called to ministry, but for one reason or many, are not yet doing what they’ve been called to do.
4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:4-6)
“Laying-on of hands” is one of the ways that the gift of ministry is passed on to new ministers. This is often referred to as apostolic succession, whereby every minister of the Gospel could trace their call, through the laying-on of hands, all the way to Peter. Given some of the language Paul uses (recalling your tears), and my own memories of when hands were laid upon my head by previously ordained pastors, I’ve always wondered if Paul was referring to a similar ceremony.
For me, it took a lot of determination, fueled by divine motivation to make it to that day. My tribe requires educational and experiential preparation as parts of the road to ordination. It was grueling but beneficial work, requiring a lot of sacrifice and effort. It is only by God’s grace that I got through it with my family intact. Thank you, Lord. It was all worth it. While there are so many challenges, there are so MANY blessings. I am fulfilled as a human being as never before. Everything is more vivid to me.
Let me encourage you – if you’ve been called to serve as a minister of the Gospel, no matter what capacity (if you even know yet), even if not in a “pastoral” capacity – let me encourage you to remember that day when you were called. Remember the tears of submission. Remember the tears of joy. Remember the tears of purpose. Then, fan into glorious flame the gift God gave you – the call to serve Him. And, know this – as hard as the road will be to get there, God will be with you all the way and you will know blessings like never before.
Trust, me. I’ve been there. It’s worth it. Go for it. Start now.