As most of us are well aware, our two LCMS Seminaries had their Vicarage Assignment and Call Placement Services this past week, and we thank God for those men whom He has raised up for the ministry of the Gospel in His Church. We likewise give Him thanks for the godly women He has raised up and continues to prepare for service as deaconesses among His people. Within our own Indiana District we look forward to welcoming four new men to the Office of the Holy Ministry, as they will be ordained and installed over the coming summer months, once they have completed their seminary coursework and graduated. We’ll also be receiving a number of vicars and a couple of deaconess interns, and we pray for God’s blessings upon each and all of them as they continue to learn and grow into the offices for which He is preparing them.
Along with those prayers of thanksgiving, we also take note that fifty-four Divine Calls extended by congregations of the Synod for candidates graduating from the Seminaries had to be returned unfilled, simply because there were no men available to fill them. And we are called to mind the Words of Christ Jesus, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (St. Matt. 9:37-38).
By all means, let us pray for those men who are needed to tend the Lord’s harvest fields, as He Himself has commanded us to pray and has promised to hear us. And along with those prayers and intercessions, let us also do our part as being among the ways and means whereby the Lord answers those prayers. In response to His own observation and call for prayer, Christ Jesus went on to call to Himself the twelve disciples, and He immediately sent them out (as apostles) to care for the lost sheep of the House of Israel (St. Matthew 10:1-6). Following His example, let us who are pastors of the Lord’s Church be mindful of those young men who show themselves to have an aptitude, disposition, and interest that would be conducive to the Ministry of the Gospel; and where we have identified such young (or older) men, let us not be shy about recommending to them the prospect of going to one of our Seminaries and giving themselves for this Ministry.
For many of us in the Office of the Holy Ministry, it was one of our own pastors who first put it into our hearts and minds to prepare ourselves for this calling and station in life. That is only the beginning of a long process, to be sure, and not everyone who aspires to the Office is necessarily well suited to serve in this capacity. But it does remain the case that the need is there, the fields are ripe for harvest, and the Lord’s command is earnest that we should pray for the workers that He Himself intends to call, ordain, and send into this sacred labor of love. And it is likewise true that those men whom He has already called, ordained, and sent to His Church on earth as pastors are among the foremost means whereby He identifies those who will follow after in this work.
“God of the Prophets, bless the Prophets’ sons; Elijah’s mantle o’er Elisha cast. Each age its solemn task may claim but once; make each one nobler, stronger than the last” (LSB #682, st. 1)