God’s Self-Revelation and Pastoral Vocations

Some time ago, I had a friend who asked if a family member could call me to discuss chaplaincy (throughout the year, I’ll have a few of these conversations with people who want to know more about corporate chaplaincy).

The family member called and shared her interest in the work of the chaplain. As I heard her share, I wondered what compelled her to this unique form of ministry. After all, she was young (very early 20s), attending college, and trying to figure out next steps. And I don’t get a lot of late teens/early 20’s calling me and asking about how to be a chaplain. I was very intrigued to hear more of her story.

“Can you tell me a little more of what is drawing you to chaplaincy in this season of life”, I asked.

Without disclosing too much information, she had experienced great losses in her family and was moved by the idea of helping others process their losses, their medical heartaches, and walking with families through these difficult times.

I still remember sitting in my home office and wondering, “Wow! This chaplaincy work will continue well beyond me!” It’s the first time I had this sense that, 1) I’m getting older and will not be a chaplain forever, 2) God is calling young people into the ministry, 3) What is my responsibility in passing down what I have learned.

After we finished our conversation, I sat in my chair for what seemed like hours, praying for her, wondering about God’s Kingdom, and how God will continue to call people to serve His purposes for this world. I felt very small and humble.

As I’ve been reading John’s first pastoral letter, one get’s the sense that something special is happening: “That which was from the beginning…”

God not only is the chief creator of the world and the cosmos, but He is also in the business of revealing Himself to us, to humanity. God has been doing this since the beginning.

In his letter, John is making a case that God did indeed take on the form of flesh that He might dwell among us (the Gospel of John, ch.1). Simply put, God is in the business of self-revelation!

Two stories: the young woman feeling a call to pastoral vocation and God’s self-revelation.

The young person feeling something happening inside her heart, something calling her to be a certain type of person in this world.

A God who so loved the world, His own creation, longing to liberate, heal, redeem, and renew…this God is not hidden from us.

God will continue to reveal himself to humanity and will not stop calling women and men to the ministry of shepherding, proclaiming, bearing witness, and being in fellowship with God and others.

Tonight, I’m grateful for the conversation I had with this young woman and for John. I’m deeply grateful that God longs to reveal himself to us.

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