MY FAITH JOURNEY A second call By Steve Hilgeman

My pastor and I had finished our lunch meeting

to put the finishing touches on the congregation’s strategic plan for the following year. As we each enjoyed that last cup of coffee one has before paying the check, he placed his empty mug down and looked me right in the eyes. Pastor never said too much during our meetings—I liked to lead, and he liked to listen. But I could tell by the intensity in his eyes that something profoundly serious was about to be uttered. I, too, placed my cup down and waited. Without pausing, he asked, “Why aren’t you

in the ministry yet?” With his eyes still intently looking into mine, I could tell instantly that this wasn’t a rhetorical question, nor was he on a fishing expedition. His eyes said, “I mean it, Steve. What’s holding you up from applying to seminary?” I remember pausing and allowing a few seconds

to pass so I could take that stupid, guilty half-smile off my face before answering. To this day I don’t know how to adequately explain my feelings of

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humility, honor and “You got me” all at the same time. But I knew my pastor wanted an answer. His question had been asked in love. I knew that. It had been asked for the sake of the kingdom. I knew that too. My eyes moved as I stared into my empty cup—

I didn’t know how my answer would be received by my pastor, who was half my age but possessed the wisdom of a grandparent. Taking in a single breath and then using that air to answer, I uttered, “I know. I know. Let me talk to my wife and kids. You’re right. It’s time.” “OK,” he said. “See you on Sunday.” He picked

up his check and headed toward the cash register as I remained seated for a few more moments. I needed another cup of coffee so I could take the time to come to terms with what had just occurred. Sometimes the call to word and sacrament

emanates from a burning bush; sometimes the call to preach and preside descends from the sky in a bright light. While the visual manifestations of God

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