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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Cal­led to ser­ve

Vieraskieliset / In-english
24.8.2019 6.35

Juttua muokattu:

23.12. 02:44

A few weeks ago I was ha­ving a cup of cof­fee with my friends at Hel­sin­ki rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys. I was about to le­a­ve when a spe­a­ker brot­her tap­ped on my shoul­der and as­ked me to come along. He said it was not about anyt­hing ter­rib­le.

I fol­lo­wed him in­to the sac­ris­ty, where anot­her spe­a­ker brot­her was sit­ting. I knew him be­cau­se I had kept Bib­le Class in their home a few ti­mes. When I sat down on the sofa, I had a bad fee­ling about what was co­ming.

They did not beat the bush about it: “We have thought that you could be a ser­vant of the word here at Hel­sin­ki rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys.”

It was like an earth­qu­a­ke. I could not think about anyt­hing. I just sat there speech­less and stun­ned for a mo­ment. Fi­nal­ly, I was ab­le to say qui­et­ly that if that is what you have thought, that is how it will be. I have been stu­dying the­o­lo­gy on and off over the ye­ars, thin­king that I may be as­ked to ser­ve one day when I re­ti­re. I now felt far too yo­ung for the task.

Ye­ars ago I even thought that it might be a good thing to be a spe­a­ker. I would be ap­p­re­ci­a­ted and res­pec­ted, and I was con­fi­dent I would have things to say. As I grew ol­der and gai­ned more ex­pe­rien­ce, that fee­ling fa­ded away, and I no lon­ger think I would have anyt­hing at all to say – at le­ast with my own un­ders­tan­ding.

We had a long dis­cus­si­on in the rau­ha­nyh­dis­tys sac­ris­ty. The buil­ding was emp­ty and dark by the time I cros­sed the par­king area to my car. I felt im­men­se­ly lo­ne­ly. Dist­res­sed.

Dri­ving home, I tried to call my fat­her. He was on the phone, spe­a­king with so­me­o­ne el­se. For the half hour that I spent dri­ving home I had mi­xed fee­lings, felt fe­ar­ful, and won­de­red what this new si­tu­a­ti­on would mean.

When my fat­her fi­nal­ly cal­led back, I burst out crying. It took me long to gain enough cont­rol to speak. My fat­her spoke lo­ving words and said eve­ryt­hing will be fine. He said he had thought that I would be a good ser­vant of the word. But I was not re­al­ly com­for­ted.

I slept fit­ful­ly and woke with an an­xi­ous mind, just like I did ye­ars ago when I was dep­res­sed. In my an­guish I pra­yed. I do not know if one should even pray like this, but I pra­yed that the He­a­ven­ly Fat­her would so­me­how can­cel my task. Yet I al­so pra­yed that His will would be done.

I felt my­self a worth­less ser­vant in the Lord’s har­vest. I was sure they had ne­ver bles­sed a more bat­te­red bas­soon or a more sin­ful spe­a­ker to ser­ve the Zion. I was pain­ful­ly awa­re of my short­co­mings and be­set­ting sins as well as my ot­her cha­rac­te­ris­tics that seem to clash with Paul’s de­fi­ni­ti­on of a good ser­vant of the word. I can­not even be cal­led the hus­band of one wife, as I do not have any wife.

I was plun­ged deep in­to an iden­ti­ty cri­sis. I was won­de­ring what things I should give up to be the kind of se­cu­re, com­po­sed and con­fi­dent ser­vant of the word that I had come to know the ot­hers. I un­ders­tood how safe and ea­sy it had been simp­ly to sit in the pew, to lis­ten and to be­lie­ve.

My mind was full of doubts and qu­es­ti­ons. Should I now give up my fra­yed je­ans and le­at­her jac­ket and start dres­sing more con­ven­ti­o­nal­ly? Was I too at­tac­hed to tem­po­ral we­alth and good li­ving? I had al­wa­ys been used to spe­a­king my mind, so how could I now le­arn to use more po­lis­hed lan­gu­a­ge? I do not even need to list the temp­ta­ti­ons of a sing­le man? Would not the ske­le­tons in my clo­set down­right pre­vent my ser­ving in this role? Am I even nor­mal enough? What if they want to dis­miss me when they re­a­li­ze what a bad per­son I am. I have been too in­te­res­ted in sport in my free time and have not wor­ked hard enough in my stu­dies. How could I live in the right way? How do I know what is right and what is wrong?

I thought about the Sum­mer Ser­vi­ce ser­mons that I had lis­te­ned. I had of­ten ap­p­re­ci­a­ted the spe­a­kers’ know­led­ge of the Bib­le. They flu­ent­ly quo­ted Bib­le por­ti­ons and exp­lai­ned very cle­ar­ly things that had see­med qui­te in­comp­re­hen­sib­le to me. I won­de­red if my ser­mons would just con­sist of emp­ty phra­ses wit­hout any con­tent. I had dis­cus­sed with some pe­op­le the ge­ne­ral lack of bib­li­cal know­led­ge in our time – and even among spe­a­ker brot­hers. Now that I fa­ced to pros­pect of pre­ac­hing my­self, I was more than re­a­dy to re-con­si­der my views. Yet, I do not feel inc­li­ned to pick up the Bib­le as the first thing. I usu­al­ly feel my­self, or at le­ast the si­tu­a­ti­on, to be un­sui­tab­le for that.

I re­mem­ber a story from my yo­uth about a spe­a­ker to whom the word had not been ope­ned at all. Would I be like that, too? Or what if I will pre­ach so well that it will make the ot­hers feel in­fe­ri­or? Or if I pre­ach so bad­ly that the ot­hers will feel as­ha­med for me? Will I be too law-min­ded? Will I live in the way I pre­ach? What if I will be the kind of fal­se prop­het who will lead pe­op­le ast­ray? The ene­my of souls has been dig­ging up all pos­sib­le ne­ga­ti­ve things and is pre­ac­hing un­be­lief, des­pair and wretc­hed­ness. I have ne­ver be­fo­re felt so lac­king of faith as I do now.

I re­mem­ber of the words of the Bib­le: ”Very truly I tell you, when you were yo­un­ger you dres­sed yo­ur­self and went where you wan­ted; but when you are old you will stretch out yo­ur hands, and so­me­o­ne el­se will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18) I am not old yet, but I feel there is not­hing el­se I can do ex­cept let my­self be car­ried by God’s will.

The brot­hers said I could speak to my ne­a­rest pe­op­le about this. I won­de­red who would be ne­a­rest to me. I felt comp­le­te­ly alo­ne, wit­hout a place where I could rest. A few days la­ter, when I had been ab­le to dis­cuss this with some friends, I gra­du­al­ly cal­med down. Those friends re­min­ded me that this task al­so inc­lu­des a bles­sing. I have tried to re­mem­ber that at ti­mes of an­xie­ty.

I as­ked the brot­hers in the sac­ris­ty if I could wait un­til the fall to be­gin. I will le­a­ve my role as Bib­le Class te­ac­her, but I want to keep my ot­her work du­ties in the Zion.

When I lis­te­ned to old re­cor­ded Sum­mer Ser­vi­ce ser­mons, I he­ard the voi­ce of a dear brot­her who has al­re­a­dy gone in­to rest: ”It is not you who pre­ach but the spi­rit of my dear Fat­her”. Anot­her spe­a­ker brot­her as­ked yo­ung pe­op­le to qui­e­ten down to pray that each lis­te­ner could hear what is need­ful for his or her soul. I know my friends will not aban­don me, but will pray that I would be gi­ven words. We are all priests of the Holy Spi­rit and aut­ho­ri­zed to pre­ach the gos­pel. Yet eve­ry one of us stands alo­ne be­fo­re God. We need all the help we can get to re­main be­lie­ving. Who­e­ver has ears, let them hear.

I want to trust that God will help me even with this task. I have al­re­a­dy had he­a­vy tri­als. The Fat­her will show His grace and help in good time. Next fall, God wil­ling, I will ser­ve for the first time in re­gi­o­nal ser­vi­ces. I will be sup­por­ted by the pra­yers of many friends, brot­hers and sis­ters of all ages. I have been deep­ly mo­ved by all those who have come to wish me God’s bles­sing for this task. I have of­ten bo­wed my head with te­ars in my ey­es, part­ly for pain and re­lief, but part­ly al­so for joy – the Fat­her has not aban­do­ned me. There is still time to break bread for the hung­ry and pre­ach the gos­pel to the poor. I can on­ly pray: “Cre­a­te in me a pure he­art, O God, and re­new a ste­ad­fast spi­rit wit­hin me.” (Ps. 51:10)

Text: Sep­po Ter­vo

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal fin­nish blog post here.


Jee­sus sa­noo: "Mene, älä­kä enää tee syn­tiä." Joh. 8:11

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