Australian Christian singer-songwriter, Darlene Zschech, famously sang these lyrics some years ago, written by Hillsong worship pastor, Geoff Bullock:
I will never be the same again.
I can never return, I’ve closed the door;
I will walk the path, I’ll run the race,
And I will never be the same again.
I have long resonated with these words, for they reflect two stories in my life: my conversion, and my call to ministry. (You can read the rest of the lyrics to the song here.) When Jesus calls us to faith in him, we cannot ever be the same again. We have turned away from sin, as the Westminster Confession of Faith says, which is our nature, to grace and salvation in Jesus. Such a radical change means we can never return!
Likewise with a call to ministry – which we all have, though for a few, it is to full-time Christian service. Once we are called, finding our niche in ministry, whatever that is, puts us on a path. It might be leading worship, or keeping spaces clean, or organizing events, or teaching children, or leading a small group, or praying fervently. There are countless areas of ministry where God can call us to serve, and when we find the one or ones for which we are spiritually gifted, we find ourselves walking a path, running a race, and never being the same again.
Is your discipleship walk such that people who knew you before you were a Christian would say that you are not the same person you once were? In whatever ministry you serve, would you yourself say that you are not the same because of the ministry you undertake? I encourage you to consider those questions, and if need be, dig deeper with Jesus, because he calls us to be different in and because of him.
I reflect on the words of that song today, as I mark the 25th anniversary of my ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacraments. Since God got hold of me, I have never been the same. And since God called me to full-time Christian service, it’s been a wonderful adventure that I’m grateful to be on. Whatever avenue of service you undertake for Jesus, I pray that it is a life-changing adventure for you!
“[A]nyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun” (2 Corinthians 5.17, NLT).