This time of year, district assemblies are underway, and thousands of people are preparing for ordination services. Ministerial candidates will have hands placed upon their heads and will be given ordination certificates that challenge them and affirm their calling into vocational ministry all over the world.
Likewise, many women and men will be graduating from various courses of study, including high school, college, vocational schools, graduate institutions, and doctoral work. All of these, from ordination to doctoral certification, in some ways denote an “end.” They are, for instance, an end to a particular course of study or a particular set of requirements for a diploma or degree.
However, in a recent conversation, one of our global leaders reminded me of the need for our students and our ordination candidates to see these rites of passage as a new beginning instead of an ending. “After all,” this leader remarked, “the whole point of the preparation is to be better prepared for new areas of service.”
The Bible portrays the Christian life in this way, too. Jesus’ call to His disciples was not, “Come and acknowledge me,” or even, “Come and believe in me.” Rather, Jesus said, “Come, follow me.”
This call implies a dynamic, ongoing journey in which conversion is not the final goal but the first step in an ongoing eternal journey with the Risen Christ.
In our proclamation and teaching, are we reminding people that Jesus does not simply want converts? Though conversion is important, He wants followers! Saying “yes” to Jesus and His ways is not the end of one’s journey—it is a new beginning!
Eternal life does not begin at death. It begins the moment we choose to follow Jesus, and it continues on through this life, beyond death, and into eternity. What happens after conversion is a journey that we call the “Way of Holiness,” which is ongoing and continues deeper and deeper into the loving ways of Jesus Christ.
Prayer for the Week:
Lord, I want to know You. I want to experience Your forgiving grace, and I want to share it with others. I also want to continue this journey, led by Your Spirit, through this day and as a daily walk throughout eternity. Thank you for faithfully walking with me and loving me enough to transform me along the way! In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Charles W. Christian is managing editor of Holiness Today.
Written for Coffee Break with Holiness Today.