Does God Call You to be A Minister of the Word?
In the April 1, 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer, Prof. R. Dykstra wrote about considering God's call (vocation) to become a Protestant Reformed teacher in the Christian schools or a minister in the PR churches. In a time when both are sorely needed, it is good to hear what Prof. Dykstra has said - especially as regards the ministry of the Word of God - so that young men may discern in themselves whether they have the gifts and graces required to serve as one of Christ's ambassadors when considering the call to be a pastor/preacher. We quote from that section of the article, encouraging our readers to read the full article at the link provided above.
At the outset of this article, Prof. Dykstra spoke about four (4) spiritual qualifications that one must have and display when considering God's call. We post them here for our readers benefit, especially our young men.
"In this last segment on vocation we face the question, How do you determine whether or not God calls you to one of these vocation? As we have indicated in the previous articles, if God calls you to a particular work, He furnishes the necessary qualifications. For what qualifications ought one to search, then? The calling of teacher and preacher are in many ways so similar that one can speak of the qualifications of both simultaneously.
"...As regards the requisite spiritual qualifications, they are not unique to teachers and ministers. Just as the qualifications for elders and deacons in I Timothy 3 should be found in all believers, so these that we set forth will be, ought to be, in every believer. Yet these qualities must be clearly manifest in those who pursue either of these vocations.
"First and foremost, all those considering the calling of either teacher or minister must love God. Love for God produces a desire to give themselves to the praise and glory of God, which in turn is manifested in a life of grateful obedience. Loving God, they must recognize in themselves a love for God’s truth, and hence for the source of truth, the Bible. In addition, since the call is not general but specific as to the content of the teaching/ preaching, they do not merely say, “We want to be teachers.” Rather, they are convicted that God calls them to teach in harmony with the truth as God gave it to the Protestant Reformed Churches. Likewise, the call to the ministry. Therefore, we say that without a zeal for God, His cause, and His truth, no one ought to pursue these vocations.
"Second, prospective teachers and preachers must find in themselves a genuine love for God’s people, particularly the youth. This brotherly love enjoined on all Christians truly desires the good of God’s people, and truly desires to help them as one is able. Do you have this yearning to give your time, abilities, and heart—to give yourself—for the good of sinful saints? Then, perhaps, you have the call to be a teacher or a minister.
"Closely related, since both teaching and ministry are positions of service, the desire to serve must also be part of your spiritual makeup. Self-promotion has no place in these vocations. The proud must stay far away. Despite what you might imagine, God does not need you, no matter how gifted you may be. Ultimately, under God’s judgment, the proud will fail, for God’s people cannot abide such pride, and God will not tolerate it. A desire to serve, coupled with humility and meekness, these are the spiritual virtues found in godly, effective, beloved teachers and ministers.
"A fourth spiritual trait that must be manifested in prospective teachers and preachers is godliness. This is the life of daily conversion described so well by the Heidelberg Catechism in Lord’s Day 33. It is the mortification of the old man, manifested in “a sincere sorrow of heart, that we have provoked God by our sins; and more and more to hate and flee from them.” It is the quickening of the new man, evident in “a sincere joy of heart in God, through Christ, and with love and delight to live according to the will of God in all good works.” Is perfection required? Obviously not. Yet fellow believers must see the work of the Spirit, the Holy, sanctifying Spirit, in the lives of those who will be teachers and ministers. Without this, the instruction of the teacher and the preaching of the minster will be undermined, for the walk will contradict the instruction, making it hypocritical and of no effect.
"If then, upon examination, and with help of others, you behold these gifts of God in you—love for God and for His people, a desire to serve, and the life of sanctification, God may well be calling you to be a Christian school teacher or a minister of the Word."