Before you accept that call…

2 Timothy 4:1-5


Many men presume God has called them to preach the gospel and to be pastors, who obviously do not have the gifts of God required to preach or to be pastors. God has not called them to the work  of the ministry. Yet, they want it and continually try to open doors for themselves and thrust themselves into the work. Be warned: — If you run without being sent, you run to your own peril and to the peril of others. So, before you accept that call from a church to be its pastor, I suggest you give serious consideration to a few pointed questions.


            Has the Lord God called you and gifted you to preach the gospel? This I know, no man has been called to preach the gospel who does not know the gospel. Do you know the gospel of the grace of God? And no man has been called of God to preach the gospel who is not divinely gifted to do so. If God has called you to preach the gospel, he has given you understanding of the Scriptures and the ability to communicate that to others. — Usually others will be aware of your gifts before you are.


            Are you prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to give your life to the work of the ministry? Few men are. Are you? The gospel ministry is more than a vocation. It is a way of life, a way of life that demands that everything else in your life be subservient to it. A pastor must be a man of prayer and study and preaching. He must give his life to these things. That means that he cannot give himself to another job, or to the social activities that other men engage in, or to the pleasures of relaxation that others enjoy.


            God’s people are generous and take good care of God’s servants; but few gospel churches are of sufficient size to take care of a pastor’s financial needs as well as they desire or as well as the pastor might provide for himself. That means that you must make a choice. Will you do without the extras, luxuries, and financial security that a secular career might provide for you, or will you sacrifice the cause of Christ upon your carnal lusts? The choice is that simple and that cutting. If you choose to provide for yourself, you choose to sacrifice the ministry of the gospel. Sometimes, God’s servant must make tents to get by; but you cannot operate a tent manufacturing company and give yourself to the work of the ministry. If you prefer the tent business, stay with it; but don’t pretend to be a preacher.


            Are you prepared to spend your life serving the congregation that has called you? Some of God’s churches are small, in small, rural, out of the way places. If you are not prepared to spend your life in such a place, do not go there. God’s people deserve better. No local church should be used as a stepping stone for advancement.

            Will you give yourself wholly “to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine,” laboring in the Word and in the work of the gospel? If you are not prepared to spend your life in study, in prayer, in writing, and in preaching, if you are not prepare to addict yourself to these things, for the glory of God and the salvation of his elect, please do not accept that call. God deserves better. His people deserve better.









Don Fortner



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