ON ACCEPTING A PASTORATE
Letters from an experienced Pastor to a young man.
The news that ……… have given you a call to take the
oversight of the church there has not come as a surprise, rather I must confess I anticipated it would be so. I do hope that what I may write may be acceptable in the Lord’s sight and I desire to write under the sweet power and influence of the Holy Spirit, nor is it with a desire to influence you in any way toward a decision. Indeed I would rather say, “Do not be influenced by man (or woman) however well meaning their intentions are and however close the relationship is, and whether it is for or against such a step. Rather I would commend this word of His grace for your guidance. “Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto
my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal”. Psalm 17,1-2.
I can, in some measure, enter into the exercise of heart and mind through which you will now be burdened, and if in a call by grace and a call to the ministry it is necessary to “make your calling and election sure”, I am sure it should be so in a call to a pastorate. How right was the Apostle Paul when he charged the Ephesian elders that they should “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood”.
For a long time now this word has exercised my mind, they “were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,…. they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not”. There are then, directions to be sought, and directions to be given by the Holy Spirit. May He be your unerring guide both in your promptings and preventings.
…. I do long for you, what I long for myself, clear indications as to what the Lord will have you to do and I have to plead this word as doubtless you will too, “This is the way, walk ye in it”.
My first reaction to the eventful decision you have been constrained to take was one of gloom and anguish. I could only see a pathway of long upward conflict in which you would be called to make sacrifice upon sacrifice; sacrifices which you all as a family would feel over and over again, and I did really feel cast down at the prospect before you. Then these verses came to mind,
“Say not my soul, ‘From whence
Can God relieve my care?’
Remember that Omnipotence
Has servants everywhere.
God’s help is always sure,
His methods seldom guessed;
Delay will make our pleasure pure,
Surprise will give it zest:
His wisdom is sublime,
His heart profoundly kind:
God never is before His time,
And never is behind.
Hast thou assumed a load
Which few will share with thee,
And art thou carrying it for God,
And shall He fail to see?
Be comforted at heart,
Thou art not left alone:
Now thou the Lord’s companion art;
Soon thou wilt share His throne.”
It was just the first two lines which came to mind, but when I found it and read the rest I was broken to pieces and felt a persuasion that my doubts and fears were groundless and that I could commit you and the dear family into His hands. How applicable was the word we read this morning “And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted”
I will not add more this time. May you have the testimony of a heart and conscience at rest in the course you are about to take and faith given that will rise above all the things that are seen, and endureÂ—”as seeing him who is invisible”.
The Lord bless you indeed and make you a blessing….
“He went out not knowing whither he went” May you feel the same call has come to you. “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed”.