Ever since I was young, I have always been different from nearly all of my peers- not in physical appearance or imagination, but in spirituality. Often when I say this, I refer back to when I was four, sitting at my neighbor’s kitchen table, and declared for the first time that I was going to be a pastor; but God’s role in my life didn’t just start there. Just as God spoke to Jeremiah saying, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” I also believe that He has appointed me “a prophet to the nations,” (Jer. 1:10) whatever that ends up meaning in my life. All I know is that “his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot,” (Jer. 20:9). While other kids were day-dreaming about recess and games during class, I was dreaming about preaching. I was also filled with such strong convictions that I once wrote a note to my third grade teacher on a test to tell him that, even though I answered according to what he had taught, I held to a biblical worldview that did not support his teachings.
Though I feel blessed to have been filled with such passion for God my whole life, it has not always been easy. For example, as a sophomore in high school I went through a period of time when I had to let my dream of being a pastor die. Since my entire life was rooted in this call, my world seemed to fall apart as my footing dissolved. It was a hard year or so of desert and famine, but I gained strength as I was able to choose God just as He had chosen me. I was beginning to understand what surrender really looked like.
There are some areas of service that we, as Christians, are all called to- such as feeding and clothing the poor. But as each of us grows and chooses our own path of service, God gives us more specific charges. To the tax collectors, “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” (Lk. 3:13), and to the soldiers, “…don’t accuse people falsely,” (Lk. 3:14). If we are to be successful as the church, we must realize that we all experience different calls with unique challenges and charges.
We each have our own story. But while we are unique, we are not alone. God has equipped us with gifts and callings that are irrevocable (Rom. 11:29). It is our job as the church body to encourage other members to fulfill their callings. As each does his/her part, another is supported.
So let me exhort you. Just as God has affirmed His future and purpose for my life (Jer. 29:11), I pray that He will affirm yours. Realize that every good thing that you have- any talent, ability, or blessing- is from God (Jms. 1:17) and is meant to be used. This is not a pressure on you to start doing “the Lord’s work” (as we so like to say), but rather an opportunity to brainstorm and make room in your life for the Holy Spirit to work through you in the gifts which the Father has bestowed upon you. This is your freedom (2 Cor. 2:17)!
Now go make your own story!