by Christopher Paré
It has been a while blogosphere.
I originally intended for this blog to predominantly remain scripturally focused in a more formal format, but realize that unless you know who I am as a person my thoughts on the scriptures can mean little or nothing to you.
As I posted about a month ago, my family and I have relocated to Connecticut from Georgia (Where I began this blog). Since moving, I have been able to spend more time with my family. I live with my grandfather and work with my step-dad. My wife watches my little sister, and I’ve seen my fathers mother once already since moving. Kate (my wife) and I were even able to take a spontaneous weekend trip to Pennsylvania to see her family and meet our new nephew. It has been great to have all of this time with family and it was one of the reasons I wanted to relocate. On the other hand, there was another major reason that I felt God leading my family up here.
It was my intent to begin a Masters degree upon moving here. I wanted to take the seeds that I have sown here along with my other studies and put them to use in pursuing a vocation in ministry. Having this direction and focus gave me strength to endure a job that is incredibly taxing both physically and emotionally, as well as giving my heart peace about the path I feel God is leading me down. As you may have gathered, I am not currently enrolled in seminary classes.
The past two months have landed me in a catch twenty two. Kate and I have determined that I would not be able to work, study, and live out the family life we feel is best because of the large amount of time I would have to dedicate to my studies. I would be able to pass my classes, but I want to teach. This means I want to master my subjects.
The other side of the coin is the one that plagues most, if not all people who aspire to enter into ministry in our age. Finances. Given that taking classes part time is not feasible right now I am left with the option of studying full time. I was able to obtain a bachelor’s degree without incurring a cent of debt thanks to the generosity of my parents and grandfather. I want to honor their sacrifice by not incurring any debt in furthering my studies. It is also a strong belief of mine that incurring debt is not a way of handling money that honors God. I pay off my credit cards every month, and am doing everything I can to pay off what little is left of Kate’s loans. Trying to pay for seminary on a dishwasher and nanny’s income is next to impossible. We could do it if we saved up for the next five to ten years, but that’s assuming that the cost of private higher education doesn’t increase at all in that time frame.
All of this leaves me with an extremely heavy heart. I have been seeking and praying for a specific direction in vocation for the call God has placed on my heart to seek unity in the body of Christ through teaching and discipling believers into a deeper understanding of their faith beyond the boundaries of the traditions that they were raised in or were introduced to Christ in. I sincerely believe that becoming a Church History professor at a Christian college would provide me with the opportunity to seek out this calling as well as the calling I have to my wife and children. I have known I was called to ministry since I was in middle school, and have held a variety of church positions that simply lacked the fire that comes from knowing that you are doing what you were made to be doing. I have met a few people who had that fire and it is unmistakable. For me, that fire was kindled as I began to study Church History (I whole heartedly include New Testament studies in that category) and think about the idea of passing that knowledge onto others.
It is soul crushing to be able to see this calling spelled out in specifics for the first time in my life and not be able to reach it. It has left me in an incredibly vulnerable space that has brought joy from the Lord and attacks from the enemy. It was this afternoon that I received a new sense of urgency from Matthew 25: 14-29,
“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”
I want to honor God with what he has given me. I want to be able to take this “talent” and multiply it a hundredfold to the glory of Christ.
Pray that the Lord gives me the faith and wisdom to see what must be done.