There are several reasons I have not written any blogs lately. Near the top of the list is low readership. I wish the number of readers and followers did not dictate what and how often I blog but it does. After all who really uses social media because they are interested only in what other people are doing? We all want a little spotlight on ourselves. It’s human nature. Not being sarcastic just a little transparent.
Another reason why I haven’t written is because many big changes are occurring in my personal life. The story really goes back about five years ago when I answered God’s call for me to become a pastor.
There are a few ways to be “qualified” by human terms to be called “Pastor”. The easiest by far is to click on one of those cultic internet sites, pay your $15 or whatever the current going rate is and print out a piece of paper that calls you Reverend, Pastor, Elder, or whatever title you choose. Good luck finding a church job with that! Another way is to attend an accredited ministry school or seminary and follow the prescribed procedures to “earn” credentials as a minister. That happens to be the route I took. There are some people that faithfully follow God and are raised up in the church and through scripture study and a fruitful life are elevated to position of Pastor. There also exists those that are family, close friends, or politically connected that are hired into church positions just because they know the right people. Unfortunately this is often the case of church employment. What, did you think that only happens at secular jobs?
Back to where I am and a little of how I got here. About five years ago I began a three year ministry school track. With great ignorance it seemed to be a sure thing that with a personal calling, a little schooling, and perseverance many opportunities would present themselves as a minister. Actually many opportunities did occur just not in a church setting. I counsel, marry, teach, etc. and so forth on a consistent basis.
Once I finished school I excitedly began applying at churches in need of a Pastor. After all so many say that it is difficult to find anyone that wants the job of lead Pastor. With my enthusiasm it seemed fitting that it would be difficult to decide what church is where God wanted me. Well, the big truth is there are a lot of lies that people believe. Such as the lack of qualified ministers. (One church that turned me down admitted to having over 120 applicants.) Another is that credentials mean anything to other people. They are as self serving as writing blogs and a lot more expensive to maintain.
At some point in time, that is a little fuzzy in the memory banks, my wife and I heard clearly that we would sell our house and move. After eleven months with very few lookers we took it off the market. The next couple of years was an emotional roller coaster that shook me to the core and rattled loose almost all my pride. Lost a job because I let my temper get the best of me. Lost the next job due to politics completely outside my control. End up working for a man with multiple psychological issues that still haunts my dreams. In God’s infinite wisdom He has placed me in a position that has allowed me to heal some wounds.
After two years of unsuccessfully seeking work as a minister I quit applying. Literally I told God that if this was going to happen He would have to do it because I quit. His answer was clearly “I have been telling you to get out of your own way!” Just a few days later a Pastor friend of mine asked me to consider helping him at the church he leads in another state. That was last year around October, I think. A lot has happened since then and dates are lost in memory. Anyway, my wife and I prayed about it and wouldn’t you know that God impressed on our hearts to say yes.
I am not willing to share the location of this church right now nor the size of it. It is not important to you as a reader anyway. What is important is that there are people in that church and town that God has placed in my life path to minister to. Many of them are smarter, better looking, funnier, wiser, and whatever else a person is judged by. But God did not call me as a judge He called me to be a Shepard. A persons calling is way more important than social status.
In late February of this year (2017) we put our house up for sale. It took only two weeks to sell. If I wrote down all the blessings we have experienced since then most folk would think it an exaggeration. Part of that blessing was finding a new home, in a different state and closing the sale of both houses on April 28, 2017. I will tell you that the rain stopped every time we were loading or unloading the moving truck just long enough for us to finish what needed done. That was really neat! We will spend the next several weeks traveling between one state and the next because we have job commitments When you have made a commitment it is proper to do anything possible to keep it.
The day after closing we moved into our new home. My wife and I were blessed by many people that spent nearly twelve hours helping us unpack and set up house. There are no words to express how grateful I am for that. In fact there were a couple of young men that did not know us that helped. At lunch when it was time to bless the food those young men immediately removed their hats and bowed their heads. I felt a lump in my throat witnessing that. Folks there are still some respectful younger people in this world!
It will be a bit of a struggle to always be sure that the sermons I preach are not self serving. Just like writing blogs the temptation in preaching is to try to be someone different. It really does not matter how many people attend the church God places me in it only matters that I attend to the needs of those people.
All this blathering to say that the best place to be in life is in God’s will. Maybe you just need to get out of your own way to get there…..
Rev. Burt Schwab