At the time of writing, today is a special day for me. I’ve only seen my family twice in two years due to the COVID 19 lockdowns. So today I’m travelling to see them again overnight. Sadly, I can’t stay any more than one night because I have to get back to work on Sunday – such is the life of the church minister. People don’t often realise that the minister can’t just take a Sunday off at random but has to work sometimes a year or more ahead. Ministry is no ordinary God, and it comes with requirements to make sacrifices.
Visiting my family was only arranged by them a month ago, so I didn’t have time to rearrange for anyone else to take my Sunday service. However, that’s how things go sometimes. My preaching engagements for 2022 are about 80% booked already. Most preachers have to work this way, and it is unfortunate because when family or friends, occasions happen impromptu, mainly if it falls on a Sunday, and cannot be part of it. I’ve been preaching since 1980, so this is the lifestyle I have adopted because I have answered God’s call upon my life. Unfortunately, sometimes family or friends don’t understand, they think that you can have a day off whenever you wish – sadly, this is not the case. However, I have far more flexibility because most of my work is now working from home. I am grateful for this and hope to maintain flexibility in my schedule in future years, except, of course, I’m unable to do that for a Sunday mainly.
When we answer God’s call upon our life, we need to count the cost. So if you are reading this and you believe you have a God’s call upon your life, and you are standing at the precipice of decision-making to answer that call or go into another direction, I hope that this article will be helpful to you.
How to Count the Cost.
Below are just a couple of short tips to help you ascertain if you want to answer God’s call upon your life or not, and I’m not going to explain each point; however, I may do this in a future article.
The Bible says if a person builds a tower they must count the cost first. So Jesus, while addressing the rich young ruler, was asking him to count the cost, and we know the rest of that story!
Luke 14 : 28“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
These tips will help you work out if you are called by God or not
1. Be sure that others confirm the call upon your life who are in church authority.
2. Spend a significant time in prayer and fasting if necessary to ensure that you have the mind of Christ in your situation.
3. Research the area of ministry that you wish to enter thoroughly. Understand fully what the expectations upon your life might be.
4. Draw yourself a timeline. When do you think that this call upon your life might begin? Does this fit into the commitments that you have for the next 12 months?
5. What financial implications will there be if you answer this call upon your life? Grab a people piece of paper and write them down so you can see them, pray over them, and reflect upon them.
6. What financial sacrifices are you willing to make and that of your family if you answer the call.
7. Are you and your family willing to move if the call upon your life requires?
8. Are you willing to move away from your extended family and friends if York also requires?
9. Are you willing to put in abeyance old ideas and take on new ways of being and living so you may be effective in your call?
10. How many years are you willing to attend a Bible college or university to be equipped for your call? And what sacrifices are you and your family willing to make so you are quick and embark upon the required training?.
Any way the tips will help you get started upon your quest to evaluate the cost that you will be making. These are just ten short questions, but I’m sure you will come up with more. I am sure you will be making a sacrifice, in fact, many sacrifices, and this is why many people do not last in ministry. People fail to count the cost to them and them and their families.
When I was in ministry in the USA, I met up with quite a well-known woman minister, and had coffee together. In our conversation, she said,
“I often wondered why people romanticise ministry because it is far from romantic it is full of sacrifices, heartbreak, disappointment, and just darn hard work”. She continued, “Of course, there are rewards when you can see the fruits of your labour; however, it’s not often that you see that fruit because many people that you help that I help move on. Unfortunately, I don’t get the opportunity to journey with them throughout their lives. Still, it is a comfort to me that I will know how my ministry has affected others in the halls of eternity”.
If one is entering ministry to be liked, to receive accolades of thanks and welcome, you may be far disappointed. Jesus said to carry your cross, and indeed if you are called to the ministry, you will be bearing that cross.
Matthew 16 New Living Translation
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.
Jesus also pointed out, that you will be a sheep among wolves, is your call strong sure for that, is your charter strong enough to endure that – are your shoulders broad enough for that?
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