I am back after a month long sabbatical. I have been to the mountain top, and I have returned with many words of wisdom. Or put in a less dramatic way, I am back after a refreshing break.
God did impress upon me several things while I was away. Some of them more personal in the realm of conviction and correction and some of them more general and confirming. I came back from a month away more excited than ever about ReCAST Church. I missed all of these people that God has brought together to form a local community of worshipers.
But I also felt renewed in my calling to be a pastor. Let me say in a moment of flat out honesty, that I am made of the same stuff as everyone else. And leading a church can take its toll. It is not as much a set of responsibilities. I don’t lift as much as some people, I don’t drive as far, I don’t dig as much as some people. But, I would humbly suggest that there are a lot of expectations on a pastor. Every sermon should be witty AND serious. He should love to be around people AND love to study in silence. He should be a good administrator BUT not too administrative. He should love God AND love sinners. He should model balance, calm, peace, joy, being a good husband, being a good father, rising early, staying healthy, studying the word, all while never having too much beer.
So as I wrote these things out, I left for sabbatical focused on this list. I wanted to ask God, if I truly match the job description. My question to God this month was simple and honest . . . ‘How am I doing?” And I believe He subtly kicked back and asked “Why do you want to know? Are you looking for an out?”
And then he started tearing me down. I have been convicted of my shortfalls in many areas. Am I a model husband, model father, model rejoicer, model peacemaker, model human? Yikes! Where is all this going?
But in the midst of my sabbatical God pressed on me that even though I am not perfect, I am still useful. I believe that there is strength found in a genuine humility that comes frequently to look at our shortcomings. It is faith inducing to realize that I cannot, but God can! In reading through a book about calling by the Puritan, William Perkins, I came to realize that there is a recognition of weakness that is inherent to our callings.
I believe that I am a pastor. Not because I have everything nailed down, sewn up and figured out. But I believe I am a pastor because God has called me, equipped me, confirmed that calling through others, and used me to further His kingdom.
I do not believe that I am merely just a pastor, but the pastor of ReCAST Church, by the calling of our Great God. I will serve Him here until they are tired of me, or God moves me on in clarity. I am energized and eager. I have a new vision and a renewed calling to be the man of God in my community.