It’s God’s call. But it’s yours too.
At the end of 2005, I was asked a life-altering question. My response to that question would significantly shape my future. I had graduated from Bible College with a BA of Ministry a year prior, and had been interning at my church, working one job in retail, one job in hospitality, and getting ready for my upcoming wedding. As the year came to a close, I was asked by my senior pastor if I would join the ministry team on staff as the youth & young adult pastor. My initial response was to decline – I felt that there was another leader who was more passionate and better equipped to lead the ministry than I. Part of this response was born of my own insecurity about whether I had the “goods” to take up the role, and part of it was a genuine belief that this other leader was the right person for the job. I was challenged to think and pray about it over the weekend, and it was during this thinking time that the life-altering question was asked.
The question was not whether I would join the staff. The question was whether I would respond to what God had called me to, and it did not come from the mouth of my senior pastor, but from the heart of God. That weekend I listened to a sermon reflecting on the call of God to Abram/Abraham and how this father of the faith responded to that call.
“No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be called Abraham” (Genesis 17:5). As part of God’s plan for Abram (and through Abram, a future nation, and through that nation the whole world), there were several requirements that he had to fulfil. One of them was this somewhat-strange name change: from Abram (which means exalted father), to Abraham (father of a multitude). Now Abram’s name was rather well-known during that time—he was considerably wealthy and had achieved military success in his efforts to rescue his nephew from an alliance of 4 local kings, a feat which the combined might of 5 kings failed to do. But God asked him to change this well-known name from something acceptable in that society to something that could have been embarrassing – “Father of a multitude?! He only has one son – and that through a servant girl.” And yet, Abram responded in obedience and became Abraham – because that is what God called him. What I heard that day was God’s challenge to me – “Andrew, I have called you minister, pastor, preacher; are you going to call yourself what I have already called you? Will you respond to my call?”
Reflecting on the life of Abraham, Jack Hayford once wrote, “…the alarming thing about your and my response to the call and summons of God on our lives is that if we don’t go, if we fail to obey, if we resist God’s call, it’s very likely there are other people who aren’t going to be in the will of God either.” It was the decision to respond to God’s call that lead me to five wonderful and grueling years as pastor, which opened up the doors for me to study my MA and work in a Bible College, which then ultimately led to this current season of leadership at Alphacrucis College in Melbourne. As Hayford notes, not only has my life been affected, but also that of my family, my church, and those who have been influenced by the ministry that God called me to – that of leading, pastoring, and preaching.
I may not know what the future holds but I do know that my future pathway is largely determined by my continued positive response to what God calls me to. And I suspect, the same is true for you.
God is calling. How will you respond?