Bob Tamasy: Called To Pastor - Or To Pasture?

Monday, September 23, 2019 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

From time to time over the years, because I worked for parachurch ministries, I would hear from people believing they had been called to vocational ministry as well. “I’ve been called to preach,” they might say, or, “The Lord is calling me to be a pastor (or a missionary).”

 

Those are noble pursuits, without question. And if God is calling someone – perhaps you – to any role in vocational ministry, woe to you if you choose to ignore it. Look what happened to Jonah! If the Lord doesn’t provide a huge fish, He’s perfectly capable of using some other means for getting your attention.

 

But suppose you receive such a call.

When He says, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”and  like Isaiah you respond, “Here I am. Send me!”(Isaiah 6:8), what if nothing happens? What if there you are, eager to go, but you have no guidance from God as to where to go, or when, or even why?

 

Sometimes, when folks are called to pastor, the Lord first chooses to send them to pasture. He wants them to marinate for a while, or to mature, so they’ll be ready and equipped for use when He needs them.

 

The Bible is filled with examples of this. There was Abram, who was promised that one day he would become “a great nation…. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3). Abram – whom God later renamed Abraham – was 75 years old when he was instructed to leave his familiar home in Haran; it wasn’t until 25 years later that he began to see this promise coming to fruition.

 

Then there was Joseph, Jacob’s son, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, then wrongfully accused and imprisoned by Potiphar. It was years later when Lord opened the door for him to become the most trusted advisor to Pharaoh. Ultimately, Joseph became God’s instrument for bringing the nation of Israel into Egypt where they multiplied and started becoming that great nation.

 

As an infant, Moses was spared another Pharaoh’s murderous wrath. As an adult, adopted into Pharaoh’s family, Moses interceded after he saw an Egyptian mercilessly beating a Hebrew slave. Realizing his act had been witnessed and realizing his life was suddenly in jeopardy, he fled to Midian. There he literally was put out to pasture, becoming a shepherd to his father-in-law’s sheep. Moses continued in that role, the Scriptures tell us, for 40 years before God appeared to him from a burning bush and gave him the orders to be His instrument for freeing the Israelites from 400 years of slavery.

 

Then there’s the apostle Paul, once known as zealous Saul who took delight in persecuting followers of Christ. After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus, he was converted but again, God didn’t put him into ministry for years. Finally, Barnabas was sent to Tarsus to find Saul and essentially tell him, “Okay, the Lord says it’s time for you to get to work.”

 

The first time God guided me into vocational ministry, I wasn’t even discerning enough spiritually to realize it until I was offered a position. All I knew was that for about a year I remained in my newspaper job, waiting for the right door to open. The other two times I knew the Lord was leading me to a new assignment, but both times I had to wait more than a year before He made clear to me where He wanted me to go.

 

In truth, we all have a call from God to serve Him. It’s wherever we happen to be at the time. A couple weeks ago I talked with a banker on the West Coast who had thought he wanted to become a pastor, but the Lord made it clear that his ministry would be to his customers and colleagues at the bank. Today he’s having an impact on many people who would never venture into a church on their own.

 

Moral of the story: Even if you know you’re called to become a pastor (or some other type of vocational Christian service), don’t be dismayed if God first puts you out to pasture. In the meantime, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might”  (Ecclesiastes 9:10).


* * *

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly re-published, “Business At Its Best,” “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. To read more of Bob Tamasy’s writings, you can visit his blog, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, or his website (now being completed), www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Hosts Christmas Devotional Saturday

"How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Bob Tamasy: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thanksgiving


The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chattanooga invites everyone to a Christmas Musical Devotional on Saturday at 6 p.m. at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road. The devotional will celebrate ... (click for more)

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced on Tuesday that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a 'Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ' on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The ... (click for more)

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to write a series of perspectives on Thanksgiving Day. As it happened, the one I posted the Monday before the holiday was titled, perhaps a bit prophetically, ... (click for more)


Church

Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints Hosts Christmas Devotional Saturday

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chattanooga invites everyone to a Christmas Musical Devotional on Saturday at 6 p.m. at 3067 Ooltewah Ringgold Road. The devotional will celebrate the birth and life of Jesus Christ through music. Chattanooga Stake President John Griffey will preside, with opening remarks by 1st counselor Brian Silvenis. The Chattanooga Stake ... (click for more)

"How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" Is Sermon Topic At Middle Valley Church Of God On Sunday

Middle Valley Church of God, at 1703 Thrasher Pike in Hixson, announced on Tuesday that Pastor Mitch McClure will lead a 'Celebration of the Victory in Jesus Christ' on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The Celebration will include a special musical presentation by the church choir, and a message, "How Do We Get Ready For This Baby?" by Pastor Mitch McClure. This Celebration is a result ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Suspect In Bayberry Apartments Murder Taken Into Custody In Dramatic Fashion In Courtroom; Police Give Details Of Shooting

A man who was called a suspect in murders on Sunday night at the Bayberry Apartments was taken into custody in dramatic fashion in a courtroom at the Courts Building on Thursday morning. Later in the morning, Chattanooga Police said Mark Caslin, 26, has been charged in the slayings. Police said, "During the preliminary investigation, Chattanooga Police Department officers ... (click for more)

Attorney For Janet Hinds To Seek Change Of Venue; Trial May Be In Late Summer

An attorney for the Chattanooga woman who allegedly ran over and killed law enforcement officer Nicholas Galinger said he will ask a change of venue for her. Janet Hinds, 55, will be back in court in a couple of months. She is to have her trial date decided on Feb. 3. A trial date sometime in late summer was hinted at by defense attorney Ben McGowan. Other pre-trial hearings ... (click for more)

Opinion

Don't Stem The Tide Of Refugees In Tennessee

The Trump Administration has released a new executive order that could change the way that the refugee resettlement program is run in the United States. The first - and most shocking - change that is being implemented is the huge drop in refugees being allowed in the country. For the past decade, on average, around 80,000 to 90,000 refugees have been admitted per year. According ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: So Long ‘Til Next Time

There is a famous class that I’ve heard about years at Sewanee, one that is eagerly anticipated in the theology halls of the Episcopal seminary, where those hopeful of becoming priests must come to grips with one of life’s most daunting realities. Through the years I’ve talked to several of my friends who deeply appreciated the lessons because men and women of faith are each forced ... (click for more)