While exercising this morning I was listening to a podcast by a pastor who gives helpful advice to other ministers. He refrained from his usual advisory format and gave the account of his call to the ministry. One portion of his story brought back memories I had not thought of in years. They related to my own call. He spoke of an evening during a prayer service when a visiting evangelists paused in front of him. After a few awkward moments of silence the minister declared to the teenager that he would enter the ministry and speak in front of thousands. The young man had not considered such a career before that moment, but that indeed became his life's pursuit.
This account took me back 40 years ago. As many of you have heard me testify that I was a part of a youth "witness team" as a teenager. The reason I was associated with the group was because I was dating the leader's daughter. I was as lost as a ball in high weeds. I had grown up in church, but I had never accepted Him as my Savior. I was as far from God as anyone could ever be. Partly due to the influence of the group, and to a great degree as a result of my pastor, I finally became a true believer. I would soon break up with the girl that had been the reason for me being on the witness team to begin with, but not without one significant event that occurred before she and I parted ways.
I had only been saved for a very short time. The team had spoken at a small church during one of their Sunday evening services. The pastor invited the team and our sponsor to have snacks with him and his wife in their home afterward. I don't remember anything about that evening except one thing. The pastor had each of the youth line up at his door as we departed so that he could bless each one individually. I listened as he spoke very kind and affirming words to the each person as they met with him. Soon I was standing before him expecting a similar blessing.
The old pastor looked me in the eye. He did not pause as in the story I related about the podcaster's calling. This man simply said,"Young man, may God make you a great preacher!" I was stunned, but also expected something to follow. It did not. He turned to the guy in line behind me and repeated a similar blessing to one's that had gone before me. I sat in the van on the way home wondering if the words this man spoke were just an attempt to change up his repeated blessing. Or did he really get a word from the Lord that he was instructed to speak over my life.
Years passed and it seemed more and more like the man was just being kind. No such future seemed to be in the cards for me. I graduated college. I got married. I became a retail buyer, a computer programmer and a father, but not a preacher. More years passed and I forgot the words of the old minister altogether. I did not become a pastor for more than 15 years after his prophetic blessing. While listening to the man's story this morning as I worked out, the scene from all those years ago flooded my mind. And then this thought, "All the promises of God are yea and amen." He does not withdraw His gifts. However, their activation in our lives wait until the moment God has planned.
I wonder if David felt the way I did when he was called in to his father's house to stand before the prophet Samuel. He had spoken kindly of all Jesse's sons that went before him, but there were no prophetic utterances. Then Samuel declared that David would become the king and poured oil over his young head. The prophet then departed and Jesse sent his youngest son David out to tend the sheep again. God had chosen him, but the time was not right. His time would come.
Do you ever wonder if God will use you? Is His promise for you so far in your past that you have forgotten that it had ever been given? Don't lose heart. God's timing is perfect. If you are feeling a little discontent right now, take it as a good thing. Remember, God always rattles your cage before He ever opens the door.