I Have to Tell Myself

DSCN7808 (FILEminimizer)I have to tell myself that I am a college student again. I have to really convince myself  that for the next four years, I am pursuing something that I used to ‘hate’ and forsake.

I had every chance and opportunity to study in college. My parents wanted it, my friends believed in me, and my high school friends were all taking it and pursuing me to do the same. After all, is there a person who does not want to have a secured life? Maybe I was one among the very few, according to them.

I dodged every opportunity to finish a bachelor’s degree. What I really wanted is the full-time ministry. I believed strongly about a ‘call’ – that God predestined me to be a minister of a certain local church.

Until this November 2012. The tables were all turned. I am now facing a new path in life. Something which I told myself a couples of years ago that I would never tread upon again. A decision that maybe I never fully measured the cost.

Could I blame myself if I am attending the class often late? Or could you blame me if I have to drag myself so I could enter the campus and have hours of studies every day? But there is no other person to blame but me.

Or maybe there is God, the Supreme Ruler and Sovereign King over all. No matter what He wills in my life, I have no right even in the lightest degree to blame Him for all the hardships I am facing now, and of course, He is not under any obligation to explain Himself. And by the way, I know I am not living a holy Christian life. That adds up to the equation of unneeded suffering.

Where am I? A question I repeatedly asks myself. But more often, I am doubting myself, ‘Who Am I Really?’

“If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry.”

I was delivering a sermon on our Preaching Class.

‘If you can do anything else, do it. If you can stay out of the ministry, stay out of the ministry.’

Those were the words of strong conviction by the great preacher Charles Spurgeon, affirmed by another great preacher, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book Preaching and Preachers, page 105.

By the word ministry, these men pertain to Pastoral Ministry, with emphasis on the divine task of preaching. To explain their conviction, they only mean that if a man is called to preach (and to pastor), it should only be what he is doing, it is only his satisfaction and way of life. No secular work, no business. Just to pastor and preach.

Hard statement, and personally it hit my heart. I truly love the task of preaching: from preparing sermons, trying to live out the message and the act of delivering it to the church. Seeing that other pastors and fellow believers affirm me personally that I have the gift of preaching puts more confidence in my heart that I am called to preach.

However, that confidence is challenged as I read the above statement of Mr. Spurgeon. Right now I am facing an important decision that I have to make very soon: taking up secular college studies. Do I have to study again, this time in secular, with the purpose of teaching in secular schools someday? Then what about Spurgeon’s belief that Preaching is a calling so big that it demands your entire life? And if God is leading me to study in secular, then does that mean I am never called to preach?

Not just mind-hammering, but heart-tearing questions. Preaching is the passion of my life. And if Spurgeon’s conviction is biblical and true, then entering the secular career of teaching is in a sense ‘giving-up’ the call to preach and to pastor. Well of course I do not see Spurgeon as infallible, nor his words equal to the authority of the Bible. But he was a great man of God who dedicated all his life to the divine task of preaching. Very few can surpass the blessedness of his preaching ministry.


And if Spurgeon were right, then how about the sincere pastors out there who have secular work? Are they sinning and belittling the call to preach?