I often get asked why I decided to become a minister. Well, ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a minister. My mum saved an essay of mine, written in P4, in which I had to say what I wanted to be one day. I wrote: “Even though to be a minister in the church is very much a man’s job just now, that is exactly what I want to do – even though I am a girl.”
Looking back, I now understand that that desire of mine, which have never changed, was God calling me into ministry. I was destined to become a minister – and I love my job.
For other people it’s not always that easy or straight-forward. Take a look at Jeremiah, for instance. In Jeremiah 1:4-10 we read how God called him. In verse 5 God says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” But Jeremiah was immediately full of excuses: “I do not know how to speak; I am only a child” (verse 6).
For the time Jeremiah lived in, these were actually two very valid excuses, because if you couldn’t speak properly, nobody was going to listen to you. And all a prophet did was speak, telling the people what God expected them to do. And by referring to himself as a child is an indication that he was not old enough to be able to speak in public yet. It was only at the age of 30 that a man could speak with authority. So to be a prophet would be a really big challenge for Jeremiah. He was expected to tell the people that they had to obey God and change their lives according to God’s will. At his tender age – no one would take him seriously.
But none of this changed God’s mind. He created Jeremiah to be his prophet, and He would put the words in his mouth himself. He would give him the strength and courage he needed. God reassured Jeremiah that He would not have sent him on this journey without giving him the strength to do what was expected of him.
And that is still true for each one of us today. God calls all of us – for different things, in different ways; but he calls us, because He wants to use us. And whether we feel up to this calling or not, we don’t have much of a choice. We have to do what God wants us to do, because that is what He made us for. But He promises that He will never leave us alone, that He will give us the strength to do what is expected of us.
So let’s not be hesitant, because there are two words a child of God can never use together, and that is “No, God”. Let’s live in such a way that our lives are a big YES in honour of God.
It is my prayer that my work in these two parishes will be nothing other than such a YES, because I regard myself as fortunate to have been called as the locum minister to Polbeth Harwood linked with the West Kirk of Calder.
May God bless you all.
Locum minister: Polbeth Harwood linked with the West Kirk of Calder