How many of us today would know what to do if we received a call like the one that came to Paul when he was at Troas? "Come over . . . and help us" (Acts 16:9). This was a call to service, to earnest, soul-anguishing labor for Christ.
Paul did not need to have the Macedonian district "sold" to him, as is sometimes the case with us today. No conference president had to assure him, "This is a good district. There are no church problems. There is a new church building. Ingathering is well organized and comes easy." Paul did not first have to go and see if he could find a house acceptable to his taste. He did not hesitate because of the good job his wife held, and that moving might reduce the family income. Nor was he concerned whether this move would appear to be a "promotion."
The record is that "immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them" (verse 10).
How could Paul respond to a call like that? Because he was "called of God"; he was in the Lord's work. Today the conviction of every Adventist minister should be the same conviction as that of the apostle Paul. This is the church of God. Christ loves His church. His death on Calvary measured His love for His church (Eph. 5:25). Do we think that conference organization hinders the compelling love Christ has for His church? The Lord is well able to work through conference organization. He is guiding, directing, perfecting His Church—even reproving and overruling when necessary. Being ministers in the organized work in no sense lessens our responsibility to Christ for our personal actions and decisions.
"Called of God." This conviction makes all the difference whether a man is a shepherd or a hireling, a minister of Christ or a professional minister.
Paul, looking back on the results of his answering that call of God, said in effect, "You know that from the very first day I came into Macedonia it is out of personal difficulty and trial that the gospel of Christ has won its victories here. This is the way it has always been in my ministry, and this is the way it always will be, for the Holy Spirit has told rne that bonds and affliction await me." His devotion to God's call is seen in the following words: "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20: 24).
"None of these things move me." There are too many forces that move us as we consider calls today. Materialism, pride, and love of ease are the most common Fellow ministers, in this hour of earth's history, with so little time and the harvest so great, it is the "call of God" that must dominate our lives.
This cause must extend Christ's challenge, "Come over ... and help us," "Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it" (Jonah 3:2). We ministers should not look for pleasing pastorates, but work for the love of doing something in God's service. We should not look for benefits or privileges to be gained or lost by a call. We should say, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"; "Not my will but Thine be done"; "We have left all to follow Thee"; "Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24).