This wasn’t the career path I was imagining for myself ten years ago. At that time I was managing a library and loving it. I expected to remain in that type of role for the rest of my working life. But God had other ideas. I was cleaning the house one day when I was struck by a thought. Though ‘struck’ is too mild, smacked, whacked or walloped would be better. It came completely out of the blue with great force, and it was, “You’re going to be a pastor.”
I didn’t initially realize that this was from God and I was about to burst into hysterical laughter, because I thought the idea was so unlikely and so ridiculous. But the next thought that popped into my head was, “Remember Sarah.” I remembered that Sarah laughed when God told her she was going to have a baby and God wasn’t pleased. So I didn’t laugh.
It took a while for me to get my head around the idea of being a pastor. I had started some theological studies 12 months previously to obtain a diploma, now it seemed like a good idea to continue. Four years later I had a degree in Christian ministry. Even then, going into pastoral ministry seemed unlikely. We had lived mostly in rural towns and generally these churches didn’t encourage women to preach.
Then about 18 months ago, my husband and I were asked to be joint interim pastors at Wangaratta. I thought they probably only really wanted my husband and I would just tag along. However, the church gave me lots of opportunities to be involved in pastoral ministry. And so from there, I was asked to take up the role at Euroa by myself.
I was wondering how my writing would fit into this new role. I like to write Christian living material and I have found that I have been able to turn some chapters of my (unpublished) books into sermons. I’m also discovering that I can turn some sermons into chapters of future books, though this is a lot more work. It takes me about 8-10 hours to write a 4,000 word sermon. From a writing perspective, I preach first drafts, because for me to polish a sermon to a publishable standard, would take more time than I can justify, given that I have other responsibilities as a pastor.
It leads me to wonder about all the preachers in small country churches throughout Australia writing sermons every Sunday. Some are producing the equivalent of four books a year for about thirty people. Then I think about all the other unseen Christian writing. People writing Bible studies, children’s material for Kids Church, youth talks, yet they will never be published and may only reach a handful of people.
Why do we do it?
Because God’s plan is to make his manifold wisdom known: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Ephesians 3:10-11).
How do we do that?
We do it, by living by faith. We do things that don’t make sense from a human perspective, like writing book length material for thirty people or less. Living sacrificially, using our resources to help others, devoting our time and energy to our local gathering of believers, worshipping God, learning to adopt godly attitudes.
As we do these things we are announcing to the heavenly realm that we believe these are worthwhile uses of our time and resources. The outworking of our faith makes a powerful statement to the spiritual forces that would oppose us. It’s what the book of Job teaches us, living by faith defeats our spiritual enemies.
It’s a mind-blowing concept.
Mostly we are unaware of what is going on in the heavenly realms. Yet your life and mine are making a statement to rulers and authorities who are watching to see if we live out our calling.
Our goal in life and in writing, is to make known God’s manifold wisdom.
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