To Those Who Are Former Pastors

…The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29

I read this today and had to post about it. I know so many people who use to preach or were once called into ministry at some point in their life. I also know plenty of so-called pastors who teach horrific ungodly things yet seem to still carry the Spirit’s giftings.

This scripture should help us to see that the gifts of the Spirit are not meant to be the only indicator of false teaching. God does not always take away spiritual gifts from people when they rebel and begin to serve the father of this world. The greatest example of this could be the prophet Mohammed. Once a Christian evangelist gifted in prophecy, he fell away from God when his wife died. Continuing to function in the Spirit’s gifts, he used his power to destroy rather then to build up. His writings changed from grace to wrath. Like Mohammed, many pastors keep their gifts but now serve a different master. And that is why it is so hard to pinpoint the false teachers of our day.

In the same way, we need to know that once called to ministry, the call remains for life. Yes, we can drown out that voice and call, but it will always remain. We can even sin on purpose to try and remove that call form our lives, but God will only use it to humble us more and serve Him anyway. I bet even Mohammed had moments of sadness as the Spirit continued to gently nudge him to repentance.

Think of this… This scripture was directed toward the very people who crucified Jesus and were stoning the believers in the early church. Yet Paul reminds us that the Jews are still called and still have the giftings that were originally given. Many of them will never repent and embrace Christ, but the anointing remains none the less.

You might say, if one carries the anointing of God will they not go to heaven? The answer is no. Jesus died to give any who seek God access to this anointing as a free gift. And this anointing has now been given for the entire world. Therefore, we are not judged on our possession of the Holy Spirit, we are judged on how we invest the precious gift we have been given.

Like the parable of the Talents, Jesus has given us all gifts from the Holy Spirit. Some of those gifts consist of a call to preach the Word of God. Therefore, let all of us who have ever felt that we were called to preach carefully consider the penalty for rescinding God’s call on our lives. In the vast majority of cases, the calls of God will never go away.

Therefore, ponder this question. If God placed Jonah in a fish for three days for running away from His call, what will He do to those who have the Holy Spirit, yet fail to obey? For in this case, would we not consider our disobedience “burying His talent” in the sand?

Of course we can’t put God in a box, but the scripture is still true. Once called to preach the Word… So the real question is? Has God ever called you to ministry? And if He has, how are you responding to that call?