Monday, April 11, 2011
But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use?
- Romans 9:20-21
Many people who are currently serving in ministry testify that they tried to escape this particular path, but finally decided to stop fighting God and accept the call. They say they cannot deny what they were made to do. Ministry is certainly a special calling. The tricky part is that specialness – and the life experiences that cause it to be revealed – is not always appreciated.
Though it is a blessing to have seminary training, it can sometimes be hard to abide in the simple joy of life in Christ because there is a lot of theology in the way. After a couple preaching courses, it was extraordinarily difficult for me to just listen to a sermon at face value. I would think of ways the speaker focused on a less integral portion of the text or made something simple too complex or something complex too simple.
Since I was trained in a denomination that does not ordain women and haven’t had too many chances to actually use my sermon skills in a non-academic setting, for a time I simply resented the ecclesial system and rejected the importance of theological training.
If I wasn’t going to be invited to preach anytime soon, why did I toil to understand exhortation? Couldn’t I just go back to not knowing anything about the importance of original languages and actually enjoy receiving teaching? Why did God make me a special vessel if that meant I got shoved on a shelf somewhere because those around me with power thought I was too breakable?
Romans reminds me that God does have a plan. There are times, I wish I was shaped differently in the days of the womb so that I might be used differently by God in the present day; but the Lord knew what he was doing then and is still at work in my life today.
Sometimes I wonder what life would look like had I chosen a different school, but no matter where I was or what I was doing; I would still have the same soul God gave me. Mine is a soul that wants to help people and use God’s words to do so.
Medical doctors use entirely different means to heal bodies than ministers use to heal souls because they were made differently by God to fulfill different roles? Who am I to wield a scalpel when I’m meant to carry a sword?
God help us to be thankful for the unique manner in which you have made us. Allow us to be grateful for each intricacy of the way we are made. Stop us from slandering what you have made to be good. Dear Lord: remind us of who you are.
Alicia Leonardi was always the artist in high school biology. She writes for McCormick now.