For I Am Only…
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a boy,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you.” – Jeremiah 1:6-7 (NRSVUE)
Over Christmas, a newish member of my family circle asked me about the connection between my faith and my decision to go into ministry. I told them, “I always loved church. I know that’s not the experience many people have, but I felt loved and accepted at church.” When as a young mom I moved to a place where I didn’t know anyone, I looked for a church to be my new home. It was there the thought of ministry crossed my mind, a thought reinforced by the encouragement of others, and by dreams that urged me to use my gifts for God’s purposes.
I remember sitting in the Senior Pastor’s office and telling him I was hesitant to say I was good or smart or ready enough to be a pastor. “For I am only” a preschool mom, a runaway Baptist, someone who didn’t work hard in college.
For I was only me.
He sat back in his chair. He was not a demonstrative man, but in that moment his face was kind. “I would be worried,” he said, “if you thought you were.”
Thirty or so years later, there have been many other times I wondered if I had what it took to do what God seemed to be asking of me. I am still only me, but every time, God has given what was needed: trust and willingness.
Holy One, may we answer your call. Amen.
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, from The Pilgrim Press.