This image is actually from a year ago at my call day. Sorry; I couldn’t find anything newer.
Last Thursday I trekked to the seminary to attend Call Day. On this day, graduates from the seminary present themselves for assignment to a congregation or other ministry (for instance, teaching). Others also present themselves: for instance, me. I had a one-year call, remember?
Thankfully, there were no surprises about my call: It was in fact made permanent. Yay! Some of my friends got sent to various places around the country or the world.
After the worship service where the calls are announced, the ministerial candidates go to meet with their new district presidents and get some information about the ministry they are to serve. My congregation happens to be in the South-East Wisconsin District. Though I didn’t need to stop in, I decided to poke my head into the meeting.
The District President made a nice welcome speech and introduced the soon-to-be pastors to pertinent people within the district (himself, his wife, a few other prominent pastors that are involved in big doings). After that, the meeting broke up as he moved from candidate to candidate to talk about some specifics.
I noticed a timid form in the corner. I went over to introduce myself and found out that he was the new vicar (or intern) for the congregation where I had vicared! Now, I may have been misreading this man. It was a busy, warm day and there were a lot of things going on. I gave him assurance: The bishop (supervising pastor) was an excellent man. He had talent in being able to read talent and put it to good use. The congregation was welcoming. The city was ripe for evangelism in so many ways! This man is going to have an awesome time at his vicar year.
And then… my bishop was there! We’ve not talked a lot since that year. We weren’t exactly close, though he taught me so much that I still use on a daily basis. (Remind me to mention our evangelism plan for this summer…) He put his arm around me…
…and told me he was proud of me.
I’ve never been good about accepting compliments. And, really, I haven’t done a whole lot here. I’m a tool. When someone puts together an awesome rocking chair, you usually don’t say, “Man, you have a spectacular tool set.” No, you compliment the man! Well, God has used me as a tool to do awesome stuff. And I can admit that. There are amazing doings here. And all of it’s God’s doings. He just used me to accomplish his purpose!
But to have that acknowledgement from a man I greatly respect and in many ways pattern myself after…
I’ve been blessed in incredible ways. I’ve been used in ways that blow my mind. But to have someone of that caliber say that he’s proud of me?
It’s a shadow — a teeny one, I grant you — a shadow of the last day. When God looks down and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” To be acknowledged that what I’ve been used to do is good? That someone like that is proud of me?