When I was in junior high, I job-shadowed my pastor. Everyone found this delightful, including the pastor himself. He took me around with him on pastoral care visits to the hospital, enjoyed introducing me to colleagues, showed me what daily administrative tasks he did, and bought me a Frosty at the end of the day. It was a fun experience.
Only years later did it occur to me that he never asked what would seem to be an obvious question during a student’s job-shadowing day: “Do you want to be a pastor?” No one asked me that question. Because girls simply didn’t become pastors.
Still the calling itched at me. It kept driving me until I enrolled in seminary. When I showed up at the school, a twenty-five-year-old woman, I sat down with an admissions counselor, a man not much older than myself. I still remember, with tears close to the surface even now, how he leaned forward and said, “Just in case no one has ever told you this, Hillary, I want you to hear it from me: you can be a minister. You can. Your calling is valid. And we want to help you follow it.”
God’s Spirit leads us all to vital, needed roles of service. Our job is to listen carefully and follow when called. When we find ourselves discouraged from responding to God’s vision for our lives, remember that the One we follow faced his own unique frustrations: “Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s hometown” (v. 24).
How is God’s Spirit leading you to serve in new, challenging ways?
Loving God, thank you for speaking through all people. Teach me to listen closely and learn how to let you speak through me. Amen.