Weekly Thought – December 13, 2016
Fred respected clarity. He thoroughly enjoyed listening to people with “immaculate vocabularies.” He lived wanting to use his gifts effectively and productively. To do this required understanding and application.
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There is a difference between a mandate and a call. A call is personal – it comes to the individual. A mandate is collective. While a call is an individual’s reason for service, a mandate is an organization’s reason for being.
A leader needs to have a sense of call to serve effectively. Prison evangelist and former All-Pro football player Bill Glass emphasizes this when training his prison counselors. He says, “You have volunteered to be a counselor, but you have dedicated your life to personify Christ in this prison.” He goes through a litany of experiences that a volunteer might find offensive and off-putting. But he knows the true volunteer will hang in, despite the possibility of being uncomfortable. The call is greater than convenience.
A call might change. A person might sense a calling to a different organization or a different form of service. Sometimes I think the call may actually lead someone out of the ministry. Recently, I talked with a pastor in Iowa whose primary ministry was Bible teaching. I asked him how he was doing, and he admitted he was unhappy. So were his people. I asked him, “What is your true love?”
“Winning people to Christ,” was his answer. “In your saint-saturated congregation, there is nobody who hasn’t responded to the gospel. And whenever you get up to teach, you don’t see a single soul who needs the message of salvation. You are by nature an evangelist. Have you considered leaving the pastoral ministry?”
“What did you do before surrendering to preach?” “I sold cars and I loved it because I got to tell people about Jesus. I loved it. But people around me said I would be a good preacher and my wife wanted to be the wife of a pastor, so here I am.”
He allowed church pressure and his ego to get in the way, and he ended up in the pastorate… and in the slough of despond as John Bunyan described it.
When I checked back he had graciously resigned, gone back to sales and enjoying his evangelistic opportunities. He misunderstood the nature of the call and stepped into a place for which he was ill-designed.
His heart to win people to Jesus did not match the mandate of the organization he served, so he altered the call. Now he has harmony.
This week think about: 1) How clear is my call? 2) What is the mandate of the organization I serve? 3) Who needs me to help them clarify their call?
Words of Wisdom: “A leader needs to have a sense of call to serve effectively.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening.’” (1 Samuel 3:10 NET Bible)