A divine call
A. Ray Lee
I grew up in a culture of faith which taught a divine call was a prerequisite for one to enter into a Christian vocation as a pastor, evangelist or missionary. It was the highest calling one could ever receive in life. At Lebanon there were expectations and prayers that young men from the church would answer God’s summons. The church and its pastor often viewed those who responded to the call as their “preacher boys” and did all they could to encourage and support them in their preparation for ministry.
Encouragement from those whom I looked up to for spiritual guidance was certainly instrumental in my choices which led to a lifetime of vocational Christian service. As a child I did not hear an audible voice in the night calling my name as did Samuel or receive a vision like that of Isaiah when he saw the Lord high and lifted up in the temple. I was not blinded by a light from heaven and a voice calling me to accountability like Saul on the Damascus Road. Never the less, God in His own way and time guided me into a vocational ministry.
The nature of that ministry was not immediately revealed to me. It developed over a period of time as I sought to follow God’s plan for my life by using the gifts He had bestowed and by responding to opportunities for service He provided. Step by step I was led by providence until it became clear what my life’s work should be. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it developed into a vocational ministry as a pastor, a chaplain and in other areas of leadership within the Christian community and has spanned more than 60 years.
As an ordained minister I may hold a degree from an institution proclaiming that I have been awarded a Master of Divinity degree. Although more visible, I do not consider my Christian service to be any more divinely important than that of others who serve faithfully with little recognition. We are laborers together. God regards faithfulness above position.