I was listening to Dr. David Jeremiah teach recently on the radio. In his teaching he was sharing that if a man is not called of the Lord to pastor a church, then he should not do it. At the same token, if a man is called to pastor, it behooves him to obey the Lord’s calling. Dr. Jeremiah also said that if a man goes through all the seminary training and receives a diploma for his studies, that diploma does not necessarily qualify him for a pastoral position either.
In the Old Testament we read of a prophet by the name of Amos. The bible describes him as a man who was a sheep breeder and a tender of sycamore trees. He had not attended any school of the prophets, yet he had a divine commission. The pagan priest for King Jeroboam II, Amaziah, tells the prophet Amos to leave and never more prophesy in Israel. Amaziah told him to go back to Judah and prophesy there.
Amos answers this deceiver by saying, “I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheep breeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’” Then Amos tells Amaziah what will befall him and his family in the days to come. Amos’ word was the Word of the Lord and within a short period of time, Assyria came and conquered Israel and took them captive as slaves to Assyria. (Amos 7).
How many other men in the Old Testament had to obey the Lord yet they did not possess the credentials that perhaps their peers and others thought they should have had? Moses…..well his calling came from God as he went to see a burning bush that was not consumed with the fire that had engulfed it. The prophet Jeremiah, disgusted with the zero results from his preaching the message of repentance to the rebellious Jews said, “’ I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.’ But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones. I was weary of holding it back and I could not.” (Jeremiah 20:9,10)
All men called of God have but one response when commissioned of God: they must obey. Men can never commission men to pastor or preach; they can only affirm that which God has already ordained.
In the New Testament we read of the men called and chosen by the Lord to be His apostles. All but one of them was from Galilee, a region of the country that was not viewed very favorably. Yet these men were commissioned of God to lay the foundation of the church with Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20) These men, as Christ Jesus Himself, were questioned as to their credentials….the authority upon which they ministered.
Dear saints of God, when we the church are speaking and functioning under the unction of the Holy Spirit at the command of Almighty God, we are humbly stepping into the arena of life experience where our credentials will be questioned as those who have gone before us.
“But we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,” (Hebrews 12:1,2), and they, by the example set, encourage all the saints of God.