I didn’t always plan to be a minister. As a young child, my dream was to play 2nd base for my beloved New York Mets. When I finally accepted the fact that this dream was never going to become a reality, my focus changed. My new career goal was to go to law school (Stetson Law School), become a prosecutor (in Tallahassee), enter into politics and eventually be elected to the US Senate (from the state of Florida).
But before I graduated college, God had different plans for me. There was no dramatic vision and no booming voice; there was simply a small still voice inside calling me into full-time ministry. I wish I could tell you that I have never again struggled with this calling. I wish I could tell you that I have never thought about quitting and doing something else. I wish I could tell you these things, but I wish not to lie to you. The words of one of my favorite authors, Brian McLaren, resonate deep within me: Morning after morning I woke up in the brutal tension between something real and something wrong in the Christian faith. The sense of something real kept me in ministry; the sense of something wrong kept me looking for a way out.
When that something wrong would haunt me, the words of John Wesley’s prayer would echo in my heart: Put me to what Thou wilt, rank me with whom Thou wilt. In these words, I learned what it means to belong to God and to allow God to lead my life. For me, the problem is that my desires and my dreams often drown out God’s call. I often want to do what I want and then pray that God wants it as well. I have learned, sometimes reluctantly, that if I am to follow Jesus, I cannot pick and choose what work pleases me, what actions I enjoy. I need to listen for God’s instructions and seek to hear God’s call for me.
So here I am. And while I have no clue what lies ahead or what tomorrow may bring, I have gotten used to stumbling around in the dark. So I will keep trying, keep listening, keep tripping and keep praying the prayer.
Put me to what Thou wilt, rank me with whom Thou wilt.