This morning as I am thinking about today, I have so many different emotions that are going on as well as just thoughts about what we will be doing today. Lisa and I are taking Danielle to register for seminary at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. God has called Danielle to be a missionary, which she believes is to be an international missionary. Lisa keeps telling her she has to be somewhere we can visit easily. Danielle will tell her to take that up with God as He is the one who will place her. I chuckle during these conversations. Truly I would rather Danielle be close by selfishly, but as I think about what God wants, I would rather her be where He puts her because He can take care of her better than I can. Sometimes that is difficult for a daddy to admit. We tend to think that we are the heroes of our children, when we ought to be leading them to have God as their one and only. Before I get too carried away with my emotions, let me change directions of what I was thinking as I started writing this morning.
God uses different avenues to prepare us for the work He has designed for us to do. Rather you are a called vocational minister or a layman, God has called you and wants you to be prepared for His work. I think about Bro. Wallace Edgar today. He attended seminary for a while, but believed that God would have him pastoring and learning with on the job training. Several ministers that I have worked with over the years have not gone or finished seminary. Jim Turley as well as Chuck Guilbert also did not go or finish seminary yet God has blessed their ministries in a mighty way. I could name many more, such as Bro. Neil Thornburg, who is my mentor, and Bro. Scott Neathery who is my current pastor. I am sure that list could be endless as at FBC Wake Village I am the only one who has graduated from seminary currently on staff. The same was true when I first went to Trinity many years ago. Going to seminary does not make a person more Godly. Going to seminary is for the people who are called by God to go to seminary. Many of the scholarships at seminary are only for people who have completed their first semester or even their first year. So many people who start seminary do not finish for many different reasons. Money, time, and an eagerness to get into the work that God has laid out are just a few reasons.
In my mind the purpose of a seminary education is preparation. God chose to have me go to East Texas Baptist University and then on to seminary. While in college many of my friends had jobs in churches, but I did not. I got to preach many times the last two years I was there, but I did not have a church position. I served churches in the summers. When I went to seminary, God allowed me to serve a church. Then He moved us to another church in another part of the state which caused me to transfer to the Houston campus. It only took me 7 ½ years to get a 2 or 3 year degree. Maybe I am a slow learner. I believed that God had me take the road of a Baptist school and a Baptist seminary as part of my preparation for the ministry He was laying in front of me. I would not trade any of that today.
We have taught our children that following God is the most important thing to do. When God calls us to do a job, He prepares us for that job. I believe in different people He uses different methods. Some people He uses formal education while others He uses on the job training. I do not know how God has called you or to what extent He has called you. Has He called you to vocational service? Has He called you as a volunteer layman? Only you can answer that. I know that God has called you. Are you prepared and trained? Training for His work is very important. He wants us prepared for His glory. Are you prepared to work for God? That’s what this trip is about for Danielle today: her next step in the preparation for God’s service. It brings back many memories for her sentimental dad, yet it is about what God is doing in her life. Let me ask selfishly for you to pray for her as she enters this next venture in her life. Let me also ask you if you are prepared for even what God wants you to do today.
He has a job for each of us, are we ready?
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.