God has been calling me to ministry since I was a child. I have also been running from ministry since I was a child. I’m not kidding. The minute I got my small glimpse of freedom in college, I ran as fast as I could. I became president of the “My flesh runs my life” club.
Am I proud of it? No. But what exactly caused me to run so far from my call that God had to disrupt my life in such a way that I came crawling back asking for forgiveness? That beautiful, sparkling pulpit you see every Sunday morning and hopefully Wednesday evenings if you’re diligent.
That pulpit everyone around me seemed to desire, but I wanted nothing to do with.
See, I had a unique glimpse into the life of ministry that many don’t get to see. What I like to call “back room ministry”. The ministry you see at home in the tired face of your mother. Seeing invitations declined to what seemed to be pure fun that are left on the counter to collect dust. The 3am wake up calls from God that leave you dozing off before the night-time news. The long table of wine glasses for family friends and the water glass in front of your parent.
The exposure to ministry I got as a child of a pastor was a real-life, up close and personal view of what bearing the cross of ministry looked like. I saw the hugs, tears, thank you’s and god bless you’s on Sunday mornings, but I also saw the sacrifice on Saturday night.
And I ran, because I didn’t want to be that different.
When I stopped running and accepted my call, I started to see how my peers began treating me differently. The “she thinks she’s too good to go out with us now” comments and the “why does she have to get a prophecy every time someone comes to church” looks. I just couldn’t understand it. My entire life I had been running from my cross, I finally pick it up and carry it, and you despise me for it because I’m headed towards the pulpit?!
The truth is this. I would love to be called to speak only to a few people at a time. I would love to get a prophesy only calling me to my small group of friends, or the one or two people I will be ministering to at my job. To be honest, I would love to simply stand in agreement with the Rhema words of my peers and rarely get a prophesy myself.
That simply is not what God has asked me to do. As a pastor’s kid, I understand all too well what that cross looks like. This is why I don’t understand why people run towards the pulpit with such desire. What you see on Sunday mornings is only a glimpse into what it takes. Trust me, those Sunday mornings aren’t all sunshine and rose petals either. People only want the pulpit for the encouraging sermons, but what about when God asks you to bring conviction to His church? Does it look attractive then?
My heart for my generation is that everyone understands the importance of their call. That they not envy the gifting and anointing of those around them, but simply walk in what God has graced them to do. We all have a pulpit, whether that is in front of the masses on a Sunday morning, or at your job during the week. Each is just as important to the kingdom, one not holding a greater value than the other.
But please understand that for those who are called to be shepherds, to speak to the masses, and to be a mouthpiece for God to many, the cross they bear is great. The heart breaks they will experience are numerous and the daily sacrifices are countless. The scrutiny is exhausting and the love is conditional.
Don’t run from your pulpit, wherever it may be; its invaluable to the kingdom of God.
Don’t envy the pulpit of others; you don’t know the cross they bear.