I came across a helpful reflection about the call to the ministry from the Lutheran theologian Joseph Sittler. Noting what it means to be ordained, Sittler writes in his book Gravity and Grace: Reflections and Provocations, "I am not ordained to fulfill my precious self." Continuing to share about a student who felt called into the ministry, Sittler continues: "One student had a list of things her first call had to have: it had to be in an urban setting; it had to be with certain kinds of Chicanos, blacks, and poor whites; it had to be in a cultural setting where she could enjoy theater and other activities." Keeping in mind I Samuel 3, Sittler goes on to responde to the student by sharing: "You know, it's as if the Bible says, 'Listen, Lord, thy servant speaketh,' instead of 'Speak, Lord, thy servant is listening.' The church is going to dump you someplace that may have little to do with your agenda. And it will offer the kind of challenge, humiliation, embarrassment, and opportunity that you didn't foresee" (p. 58).
This is a tough 'call'! I can appreciate the student's response: to what kind of ministry is Christ calling me to serve, with all my gifts, graces, weaknesses, etc.? Then again, can I fail to listen to God's voice calling me to places I may not have considered?
Helping one another understand the call is part and parcel of discerning the Spirit. It is part and parcel of reflecting on God's gracious claim on our lives.