So what’s keeping you from talking to your elders about one of the most important decisions you will ever make? What’s keeping you from seeking counsel on matters related to vocation? What’s keeping you from an honest, denying-of-self, evaluation of God’s call upon your life?
It goes without saying that God call men to be engineers, lawyers, architects, teachers, farmers, electricians, and plumbers. These are noble callings, indeed! How we need followers of Jesus Christ to take seriously the cultural mandate in every area of life as we seek to subdue the earth for the glory of God!
But there has always been a special need in the church for gifted, passionate, and mature men to preach the gospel. When Jesus says that the workers are few and to pray for laborers for the harvest field, He clearly has in mind those who will give themselves to the proclamation of the gospel.
If you believe God is leading you to law school or to medical school, you will need to have outstanding grades in your undergraduate work, apply a year in advance to a dozen or two dozen schools, and compete with students of equal standing from around the globe for a limited number of opportunities. But such is not the case for any seminary in the world.
The vocational need of the kingdom has always been for gifted, compassionate, spiritually mature pastors and missionaries to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. Therefore, Jesus tells his disciples to pray—and He tells you and me to pray— that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers into his harvest field.
And as you pray, be aware of the possibility that you may be part of the answer to your own prayers. After Jesus told His disciples to pray for laborers for the harvest field in Luke 10, the very next words of His mouth were these: Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
Are you willing to be sent, if the Lord is calling you to pastoral ministry? To return to a question that I earlier raised, are you ready for an honest, denying-of-self, evaluation of God’s call upon your life? If so, I encourage you to talk to your elders about what they see in you. And to the best of your ability, think through the following questions on your own as well as with your elders:
- Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ, and are you growing in sanctification? Is the Lord enabling you by His grace to be a man above reproach? Do you evidence the fruit of the Spirit in your life and relationships? If you are married, is your marriage solid?
- What are your gifts? Have you ever been asked to teach a class (on any subject)? Do you have good reasoning skills? Have you ever led a Bible study? Do people come to you for counsel?
- What are your interests and passions? Do you like to read? Are you interested in theology? Do you have compassion for the lost? Do you ever pray for missionaries and others sharing the good news of Jesus Christ? Are you interested in discipleship? Do you enjoy Christian fellowship?
- Do you have obvious reasons not to pursue a call to be a laborer in the harvest field at this time—certain disabilities, major indebtedness, marital or family issues, certain circumstances in life beyond your control to change, life-dominating sin, or other related kinds of issues?
- Could you see a way forward if you were to pursue theological training? What are the factors that need to be considered? Would doing part of your program via distance education be helpful in your situation?
- What are the specific needs of your congregation, community, or presbytery, or Synod/General Assembly? Might God be calling you to be a part of meeting those needs?
- Have you been satisfied with your current work, or is there a restlessness in your spirit as you fulfill your current responsibilities? Might it be that the only way to satisfy your longing heart is to yield to a call from God to preach the gospel?
Is God calling you to “be an Isaiah?” More than twenty-seven hundred years ago, Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Isaiah responded, Here am I. Send me!” May it be that in our generation young men will continue to respond to God’s call for laborers to work in His harvest field!