So incredibly thankful to the Lord today. I am not officially starting seminary until this upcoming Tuesday, but I received an email today allowing access to one of my first classes. Now some may see this as a bit dorky, and I am completely fine with that (as it rightfully is a bit dorky to get so worked up over being able to access classwork sooner than needed).
For me, this brings me tears of joy and gratefulness. I was a man who flunked out of college because I decided to get high and deal drugs to sustain my habit and other expenses. I lost jobs, family, and friends because of the life I lived. I saw things that I can never be unseen in a house of debauchery – a house that I propagated and sustained in that debauchery. At some point the Lord was gracious to open my eyes and bring me from death to life in Christ.
He planted the desire to go back to school, for an English degree; I made it a year in that program before He changed my desire to be a man who studied a greater word than any human author. I just graduated this last Spring at MBI, having raised my GPA back from .35% to 2.9% to finish out my bachelor’s.
I am overwhelmed with the Lord’s kindness as I start this new journey in seminary – not simply because I get to go to school now with a desire to learn, nor because I deserve to be in school (or even because I’m done with “gen eds”), but because the Lord saw fit to plant the calling in me to pastor. Now I know not if that is within the Lord’s will for me – but it is my greatest desire and I have never had anything consume me with such passion as this.
I love God’s Word and I wish to impart that same love to others. So what particularly am I thankful for? The fact that the Lord is gracious in allowing me to have the chance at dying all over again. This time though, I have the opportunity to die to self, whereas before, I was dead in sin.
This time through, I have an opportunity to give it everything I have. If I am ever to be fit for use for the pastorate, there is undeniably much in me that needs to change; that I might become less so Christ is made much of.
I was asked just a few short days ago, “Would you like a church full of people just like you? Your shortcomings and your strengths?”
My honest answer: no.
Pray with me as I make this journey to become a man worthy of the calling placed on me. It is so easy to do this all for vain glory. Give praise with me that I am able to be afforded this opportunity and that whatever may come, I just perform honorably, diligently, and with humble trepidation in knowing that what I am setting out to do incurs greater judgment upon me. Not many should become teachers.
I know time will pass quick enough; I know I have a strong enough desire to see it to the end (I’m stubbornly decisive and unflinching in my resolve when I earnestly believe something is good, worthy, and honorable to God in my pursuit); pray that I would continue to see this opportunity as I do now: an incredible blessing given to a man who once spat in the face of God, never tried at anything, believed everything should be handed on a silver platter, and was just content in his sin.
May I never make light of that blessing – and may I be wholly mastered by the text as I apply myself wholly to the study and application of it.