“And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.” (Acts 22:14–15, ESV)
Most pastoral ordination boards usually will ask the candidate about how he was called to the gospel ministry. The call is a very interesting and often somewhat mysterious thing. Take John Knox for example. He seemed to have resisted the inward compulsion to the ministry until his pastor, John Rough, personally called him in public assembly.
“In the name of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and in the name of these that presently call you by my mouth, I charge you that ye refuse not this holy vocation, . . . that ye take upon you the public office of preaching, even as ye look to avoid God’s heavy displeasure, and desire that he shall multiply his graces upon you.”
John Knox needed several things to answer this calling. One was the inward compulsion of the Holy Spirit to preach. Another was the affirmation of others (Both his pastor and the congregants affirmed his call). Last, an understanding that to refuse such a calling was to resist the very will of God.
As I think back upon my calling, I believe that I resisted for a long time. I remember one of my best friends exhorting me to answer the call if God would point put it on my heart. The unction had been there a long time, but it was not until my pastor in Savannah GA preached about his calling that I could no longer resist.
In this passage, Paul is addressing a crowd of Jews who had accused him of preaching against the Scriptures. In the address, he explained how he was called to preach to the gospel to the Gentiles. He was blinded on the Road to Damascus and ends up meeting a devout man named Ananias, who God used to cause him to regain his sight. Ananias went on to relay the message of God’s calling to Paul, “you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard.” Paul at the end of the address, indicated that the Lord sent him specifically to reach the Gentiles with the gospel (v21). We know that Paul answered the call of God specifically as he received it, with great zeal.
We must ask ourselves this question. What does this have to do with us? There are a couple significant applications. First, there may be some today who have experienced a deep inner compassion for ministry and have not yet moved forward to investigate the calling. I urge you not to delay, but prayerfully pursue it. Seek the counsel of many godly men to affirm the calling (Prov 11:14). Follow what God has placed in your heart and determine the specific place in which you are to serve.
Second, every believer in Jesus Christ has a call to minister. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–12, AV). Seek to identify your specific calling to minister in the local church and get to work. You were saved for a purpose and it was not to just sit in a building for an hour once a week. You were saved to bless others (Eph 2:8-10).