Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure — not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.
I was 18. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I said I wanted to be a pastor. I had no idea what that would involve, but I didn’t think the time between when I first voiced the desire, and when the desire would come to fruition wouldn’t be more than a couple of years.
I’m 31. I’m due to finish my initial studies at Grace Theological College at the end of next year. 14 years, at least.
There is a sense in which I interact on a pastoral level. But there’s a huge gap between operating on a pastoral level, and living out a pastoral call. The former is bound by concern. The latter has a tonne of responsibility.
In the decade or so since I first voiced my aspiration, I have had many opportunities to hurt people. It was said of me in the early days that my wielding the sword of the Spirit’s sword carried with it the potential for destruction or at least aggression. With the benefit of hindsight, I appreciate that had I been in a position of responsibility according to my timetable, the potential for harm would have been multiplied exponentially.
All this to say that in the intervening years there have been many opportunities to know that we can be taught. Those situations where I have assumed pastoral concern (rather than responsibility) has allowed me to learn more about the hearts of God, of others, and even my own heart. I have learned that there are ways of going about doing a thing that, despite the very best of intentions, have the capacity to backfire.
We Can Be Taught.
I have learned more and more of the spirit of the law, and that rather than. I have learned that it’s more important to love and be gracious than it is to be right. My sense of justice has given way to a growing and teachable heart of compassion.