Monday, March 20
Rev. F. Dean Lueking
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
The Lord’s call to David came abruptly, as a surprise. It still does, as I think back on my own experience of the Holy Spirit’s call to pastoral ministry.
After my high school graduation in l945, I spent the summer working on an uncle’s farm near Rockford, Illinois. I had no plan beyond going on to college. I had thought about becoming a farmer, an unlikely choice for a city boy. Or a lawyer. Or even following up on an invitation from the Philadelphia Phillies to try out as a southpaw pitcher (plenty of speed but little control). Nothing certain about that long shot. Basically, I was clueless about what came next. Then this happened.
I had worked on an uncle’s farm during the summer of l945. As the oats harvest time approached in those pre-combine days the crop was cut with a binder and bundled into shocks to be picked up and pitchforked into a thrashing machine. Hard work. Long days. When Sunday morning came my cousins and I had ideas of sleeping in. Nothing doing. My uncle roused us with an announcement to be ready for church pronto.
I was not thrilled. But went to church anyway, hardly expecting that my life was about to be permanently changed.
Among the hymns chosen was one with this line: “Here am I, send me, send me!” I sang it. Then thought about it. And then, in that humble rural Lutheran church, heeded the call of the Holy Spirit to the pastoral ministry. No thunder or lightning. Just the simple yes to God’s call
When sometimes asked why I became a pastor my answer is: “Because I have to.” That sounds forced or coercive. It’s not. It signifies obedience. Therein lies its safety, strength, and lifelong durability.
That’s just the beginning, of course. What follows is an inward deepening and outward flowering of endless blessing. As I pass through my 94th year, I keep on learning about the length and breadth, the height and depth of the mercy and goodness that follows us all the days of our lives and welcomes us at last at heaven’s door.
Lord God, who calls each of us to work that builds the kingdom. Give us open ears to hear your calling, and willing feet to follow where you lead until at last, we stand before your heavenly throne, in your glory. Amen
What a blessing and gift you have been in my spiritual life. Thank you.