About four years ago, I was in my backyard visiting with the minister of our church. Heather and I had just started going to Unity of Savannah, and I had been invited by the minister Dale Worley, to play music with the church band. Since then, Dale and I have played music together many times, we talk and hang out together, and now he is one of my closest confidants.
At some point during our conversation that day, we started talking about ministry, and I began to list off all the reasons why I, myself, could never consider such a path.
There are, after all, many things “wrong with me”. There are many ways in which I could be “better”. I also told him about the test I took during my short-lived college stint, which was supposed to tell me which career I am best suited for.
A girl walks in to our classroom, where I am sitting on the front row. She approaches the teacher’s desk and hands him a stack of papers, except for one of the papers which she holds on to. She leans down and whispers with the teacher for a short moment, then turns towards me, looks, and makes her way over to me, somewhat timidly. As she leans to place the lone paper upon my desk in front of me, she also whispers in my ear, “You are a minister”. Then she turns and leaves the room.
This left me somewhat puzzled at the time. “What was the big deal?” I thought. “Why would she single me out like that?” At the time I really had no idea what to make of it. Had I just won the lottery? Or had I just been told that I was terminally ill with not long to live? At this stage of my life I did not think well of our typical western religious ideas and I still don’t, but I hadn’t yet made peace with all that back then.
All these years later (twenty six years to be exact) upon reflection, it appears as if I got my calling way too soon for me to comprehend. I was nowhere near ready to take on such a task at this particular time in my life.
I did not completely hear my calling all at once, though it has always been the same calling. It has had to slowly penetrate, to develop over a period of many years. It has appeared before me in different forms, mainly in the form of music. But music has in fact, always been about God.
I have gone through a lot to get to where I am today.
Sitting in the back yard that day, Reverend Dale and I spoke of preacher’s we knew of who had “gone wrong”, and how they had been “de-throned” in the public eye. As I listed the many things about my own self that would impede my ever considering a path in ministry, Dale smiled and said, “If you have to be perfect to be a minister, then there couldn’t be any ministers!”
That took me aback for a minute, but I got it. People are people. There are no “perfectly pure people”, such a thing doesn’t exist. That isn’t what a minister is at all. Of course a minister is a leader, and a leader is to teach by setting good example, but we should always remember that a minister is a person.
Today as I pursue a path of being a minister, I have come to the conclusion that if you need to create a false sense of superiority by using me, or any other person for that matter, then that is okay. If that is the only way you know of to feel better about yourself, I want you to!
My calling has grown, and it has begun to bloom. I can hear it louder and louder as time goes by. It has gotten so very strong and clear, and loud now, that is shakes my very foundation.
It is the loudest whisper I’ve ever heard; “You are a minister”