Tuesday, August 14, 2007

i'm not "reverend"

my ordination council meeting was this past sunday afternoon.
for over 90 minutes i was questioned and examined by laymen, local ministers and renowned theologians who were attempting to discern whether or not i am truly called by the lord to be a minister of the gospel. it was a most humbling experience. by the grace of god and by his calling the council approved me and recommended me for ordination.

some may wonder why such scrutiny? why such examination? if someone feels called by the lord to be a pastor, shouldn't we just be thankful and send them on their way?

well, if the large and ever growing list of people who "used" to be a pastor is any indication, we should worry less about being too careful and be much more concerned that we are too quick to affirm that someone is indeed called. also long is the list of those who introduce themselves with a title denoting ministry, yet live live marked by other things.

i was reading a news story earlier and two names that are frequently in the news appeared. they are both designated as christian leaders/preachers with the title "reverend" in front of their name. but i would venture to say that what these men are known for is far removed from the gospel of christ. that is not to say that ministers cannot be involved in causes of human and equal rights.. our own nation's history, indeed world history, is a testament that they have been and should be. but in the cases of these two men (and there are others), though they have "rev." in front of their name, what they are known for is not the gospel.

the difficulty is that examination must not stop with public figures.

i have been and will continue to go to great lengths to emphasize that after my ordination this week that i will be no more special or loved by god than those to whom i preach every week. but as a minister, my reputation should be first and foremost "one who is a minister of the gospel of jesus christ". but even if i were not a pastor, simply by being a christian, one who "is a follower of jesus christ", i should be known as one who promotes the gospel of my namesake.
ministers aren't the only ones who should be known as those who point to christ.

if we are known by anyone as "christian", when they observe our lives what are we pointing them to? if they were to give a description of us, would "love of god with heart soul mind and strength" be mentioned as what makes us who we are?

are we known more for the causes we are against, the things we hate, issues that make us angry, or our favorite sports team, music, movies, tv shows? or are we known as people who love and strive to obey christ?

we need to stop compartmentalizing our lives. "christian" is not part of who we are.. it *is* who we are. it is not one item on a list of our hobbies or interests.

we are not doctors, teachers, students, school board members, office employees, athletes, or musicians who are christians.

rather, we are christians who are doctors, teachers, students, school board members, office employees, athletes, and musicians.

there is a difference, and that difference is what changes lives.

may god grant us this grace...

by this my father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so
prove to be my disciples
- john 15:8

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