I surprised my grandmother at church yesterday. But it turned out that the person who was most surprised was me. The elderly pastor of this church in a bustling retirement community surprised me in the best way. See, he has been struggling with a variety of health issues for over a year. In and out of hospitals, traveling all over to find doctors. Some days he doesn’t even have energy to get out of bed. But this pastor gets up every Sunday and preaches God’s Word. His sermon yesterday was so powerful nearly everyone in the room had tears in their eyes. He may need help because he does not have strength to do the rest of the liturgy, but he will get up there to preach until his dying breath.
When I grow up, I hope to have a ministry like Reverend Tom Collins. I hope I continue to love theology so much that I talk to young seminarians about it even when I don’t have breath. I hope God continues to give me sermons to preach even when I don’t have the energy to walk around the grocery store. I hope to find a denominational home that allows me to remain in my church because they respect my mind even when my body fails me. I hope I will always bring Bible studies and inspire projects that help the church to grow even if I won’t always be there. But most of all, when I grow up, I hope to continue to press into God’s call and serve God’s people until all life leaves my body. That’s the call I feel now and I pray it’s the call I will always have as I grow up.
I believe more emphasis should be made to our young people to pursue a career that they are passionate about, something that makes them feel so connected they cannot do anything else. That is how I feel about ministry. It’s frustrating, time-consuming, and annoyingly without answers – not to mention it’s a terrible pick up line in the dating world. But I cannot do anything else. So I will continue to go to school and work too hard at understanding theologians and church historians. I will continue to squeeze in as many challenging field education placements as I possibly can. I will continue to press into my personal faith and refuse to allow it to get lost along the way. I will do all of this because I am called by God to do this work and to do this work well, today and every day as I grow up.