This past Sunday night I was ordained as a pastor. It was an event that I will not soon forget. I was overwhelmed by the encouragement of my family and my church and my God. I was also challenged and convicted by the Holy Spirit through the words that were spoken.
My uncle, who is a pastor, delivered the charge and challenge to me. I thought about taking notes but I didn’t want to miss anything. However, the three main points that stuck out to me were…
1.) Don’t forsake your relationship with God. This is counsel that I had heard before, by my uncle’s personal reflections encouraged me to think deeper. There truly is so much that can distract me away from my own relationship with God. But without out a deep and growing relationship my desire to lead the flock will fall short. I needed to be reminded of this. It is simply too easy for me to say, “I will get to it later” or “I will study and pray when its time for sermon prep.” God help me.
2.) Don’t forsake your relationship with your family. It was in this part of the service (along with others) where I began to weep. My biggest fear is that the church will come between my family and I. Not suddenly and overtly, but slowly and subtlety. Again, my uncle’s personal reflections and exhortations hit me deeply. He challenged me to love my wife well and then worry with the kids. Again, I needed this. I want my children to grow up with a love for Christ and a desire to pursue him above all else, not to be bitter and resistant to everything that has to do with the church. God help me.
3.) Do forsake self. Okay, so I was crying during this part too. My uncle cautioned against being selfish. Seems standard enough, but the warning especially hit home. As he said, that temptation is greater in ministry and at the same time the consequences are greater. Selfishness will hurt my relationship with God, with my family, and with my church. God help me.
As I listened and reflected that evening, I was overwhelmed with the task ahead of me. How can I do all of these things? I have already fallen short in so many ways. So, the Holy Spirit gently smacked me on the head and said, “You can’t do it, you must rely on me.”
And there it is. If my ministry is marked by self-dependence, then I will not have God’s best for me and I will do more damage than good. But if my ministry is marked by dependence on God in all things, then by his grace an impact can be made in the kingdom of God.
“Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”