JavaScript is disabled in your web browser or browser is too old to support JavaScript. Today almost all web pages contain JavaScript, a scripting programming language that runs on visitor's web browser. It makes web pages functional for specific purposes and if disabled for some reason, the content or the functionality of the web page can be limited or unavailable.
Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Cal­led to ser­ve

Päivämies-verkkolehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
24.8.2019 6.35

Juttua muokattu:

23.12. 02:44
2019122302444920190824063500

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.

5.7.2020

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

Viikon kysymys