“Called to Leave It All Behind” – by Carlos Craig

NOTE – On Sabbath afternoon, November 19, 2016, eight ministers in the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists were ordained to the Gospel Ministry. The Challenge was given by Carlos Craig, President of the Texas Conference, and was especially meaningful since his son, David Craig, was one of the candidates. He has graciously allowed me to share his note here.

“Called to leave it all behind”

by Carlos Craig, President, Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

MARK 1:16-18*

“And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother, casting their nets into the sea, because they were fishermen.  Then Jesus said to them:  follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.  They immediately left their nets, and followed Him!”

LUKE 5:11*

“…so when they had brought their boats and gear to the shore, they forsook all, and followed Him…”

These passages are often generically and mundanely referred to as:  “The Call By The Sea”.  The SDA Bible Commentary remarks in reference to this Call:

“It (The Call) was to transform ordinary fishermen into fishers of men.  It would involve a long, slow process of training.   Peter, Andrew, James and John were expert fishermen, but now they must acquire new skills…”

Gentlemen, up until this moment, you had a “choice” as to whether to accept or reject the calling of God upon your Life.  But the moment hands are laid upon you and a blessing is pronounced upon you, there is no turning back!


LUKE 9:62*

(The cost of discipleship)

“And Jesus said unto them: No one, having put his hand on the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom…”

(Today You Leave It All Behind!)

We also recognize, that the “authority” of the Call is the prerogative of Christ Alone, for He calls whomsoever He so desires…

MARK 3:13,14*

“And He went up on the mountain and called to Himself those He Himself wanted.  And they came to Him.  Then    He appointed twelve…”

That same Call which came to the very first disciples, has now come to you men.  The call to “abandon” all things, in order to fully follow Christ.

  • Your personal life… Your life as you knew it, is now over…
  • Your Privileges… Ah, and He was crystal clear about that.  (Mat. 16:24*) “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me…”  No place for self promotion or vindication
  • Your Priorities… Your little finite bucket lists will need to be burned, and a fresh new set of heavenly priorities adopted!
  • Your Profession… Ministry is not a “fall-back”  It is a Calling!  It’s not just something to do; It’s something “to-be”
  • Prosperity… Let me be crystal clear here!  There is no personal prosperity in Ministry.  If there is, you’re working for the wrong master.  The objective is not to get ahead, but to be faithful!



“Oh that ministers, would fear the Lord!  Oh that they would love the Lord!.  Then, they would not merely speechify, but would have the power of God vitalizing their souls, and their hearts would glow with the fire of God’s love.  Out of weakness, they would become strong, for they would be doers of the word.  If the minister utters words drawn from the living oracles of God, if he believes in and expects the cooperation of Christ, whose servant he is.  If he hides self and exalts Jesus, the Redeemer of this world, then his words will then reach the hearts of his hearers, and his work will  bear divine credentials.”


LUKE 3:23 tells us:

“Jesus Himself began His ministry at about 30 years of age…”

What would be the significance of that?

Within the Hebrew Culture, the age of 30 was generally considered to be right about the time a man arrived at full maturity and was consequently “eligible” for the responsibilities of public life.   The question comes to mind, when does a young man, become a man in God’s eyes?  In order that we might grasp the significance of this concept, it behooves us to consider the 2 most common Hebrew words that define manhood.

  1. enosh:  mortal, transient, feeble…
  2. methim: created in the “likeness” of God, as in nature, knowledge, righteousness and purpose.  Let us recall, that when man came forth from the hand of God The Creator, God’s Law was written upon his heart.  And in that law, are the principles of commitment and service



“There came to me as I awoke, the thought that I must not accept this happiness as a matter of course, but must give something in return for it.  I settled with myself before I got up, that I would consider myself justified in living till I was 30 years of age, in order to devote myself from that time forward to the direct service of humanity…”

Illustration:  “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God”

One of God’s faithful missionaries, Allen Gardiner, experienced many physical challenges and hardships throughout his service to the Lord & His people.  Despite his troubles, he said: “While God gives me strength, failure will not daunt me.”  In 1851, at the age of 57, he died of disease and starvation while serving on Picton Island at the southern tip of South America.  When his body was found, his diary lay nearby.  It bore the record of hunger, thirst, sickness, and loneliness.  The last entry in his little book showed the struggle of his shaking hand as he tried to write legibly. It read: “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God…”

Are you captivated today with an understanding of the goodness of God in your life and ministry?  If not, you sit in the wrong place…  The certificate you will hold in your hands shortly, will mean nothing…  Your life and  your ministry will be miserable

Jesus had said to those first disciples:

 “…I will make you BECOME fishers of men…”

Ordination does not mean you have “arrived”, it’s simply a solemn reminder that you are becoming.  You are being shaped and fashioned by the hand of God Himself!  It’s not the Church that qualifies you for Ministry.  It’s not the Schooling.  It is the continual indwelling of the Spirit of the Living God…


“Christ does not say that man will not or shall not serve two masters, but that he simply cannot.  The interests of God and the interests of self have no common ground or sympathy.  Right where the conscience directs him/her to forbear, to deny self, to stop, that is where the worldly minded individual steps over the line to indulge his/her selfish propensities.  On one side of the line is the self-denying follower of Christ while on the other side is the self-indulgent lover of self.  On that side of the   line the Christian simply cannot go.”

Illustration:  “The fullness of Heaven”

The renowned 19th Century English Preacher Charles Spurgeon told this story about king Cyrus, the man who conquered Babylon and freed the Jews from captivity.  It is said that a visitor was admiring Cyrus’ gardens.  The man commented that seeing the handiwork gave him much pleasure.  Cyrus answered:  “But you have not so much pleasure in this garden as I do, for I have planted every tree that is in it, MYSELF…” Spurgeon went on to say:  “One of the fundamental reasons that some saints will have a greater sense of the fullness of heaven than others will be that they did more for the kingdom of heaven others did…”


“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?  Is it not even you in the

presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His Coming?  For you dear brethren, are our glory and joy!”



From prayers that ask that I may be

Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee

From fearing when, I should climb higher

From silken self O Captain free

From subtle love of softening things

From easy choices, weakening

Not thus are spirits fortified

Not this way went, the Crucified

From all that dims Thy Calvary

O Lamb of God, deliver me

Give me that love that leads the way

That faith that nothing, can dismay

The hope, no disappointments tire

The passion that will burn like fire

Let me not sink to be a clod

Make me Thy fuel, O Flame of God!


Notice with me now, a few critically important aspects of the Call to Ministry.

  1. You are called from somewhere  (1 Peter 2:9*)  “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His Own special people, called to proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous Light…”
  1. You are also called tosomething  3 Things:  (1 TIM. 6:12*) “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life to which you were called…”  (1 PETER 2:21*) “For to this you were called , because Christ also suffered, for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His steps…”  (COL. 3:14,15*) “But above all things, put on love, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called…”

So gentlemen, please allow me to convey a stark reality to you at this point.   Right now, at this point in your Ministry, with the laying on of hands…

  • In NFL terminology, you are receiving the FranchiseTag
  • In Mafia lingo, today you become a mademan(Blood in, blood out)
  • In Military terminology, today you are receiving your stripes



“The deeper lesson which the miracle conveyed for the disciples is a lesson for us as well, that He Whose word could gather the fishes from the sea, could also impress human hearts, and draw them by the cords of His love, so that His servants might become fishers of men.”

My beloved fellow colleagues in Ministry, always remember to be humble and kind!  Know that it is the prayers of the saints that keep us upright in this battle!

Illustration:  “Called to be Faithful”

In his book = “Eating the Elephant”, author Tom Rainer tells of an interview that a Christian Reporter had with the great evangelist Billy Graham.  The interviewer was fascinated with Graham’s success and asked him if he anticipated being given great rewards in heaven for the millions of lives that he had impacted throughout his worldwide Ministry.  Billy Graham responded that he was unsure of the extent of his own reward saying: “God will be the Judge of that…”  But he followed that up by saying that he was certain that many others would have greater rewards than he.  He described a small, elderly, woman somewhere in Tennessee that he knew, who faithfully prayed every day for her family, her church, the Nation and his ministry!  For nearly 80 years, this sweet lady had been faithful to her Lord!  For Billy Graham, that lady and many others like her would receive the greatest rewards in heaven!

At the very close of the interview, Billy Graham uttered these last words:  “You see, in Ministry, we are not called to be successful, we are called to be faithful…”


“Give of your best to the Master.  Give Him first place in your heart.  Give Him first place in your service.  Consecrate every part.  Give and to you will be given, God His beloved Son gave.  Gratefully seeking to serve Him, give Him the best that you have!  Give of your best to the Master, give of the strength of your youth.  Clad in salvation’s full armor.  Join     in the battle for Truth!”

God is not looking for men & women with great “ability”!  He has all the ability that is needed to accomplish anything He desires to accomplish!  Ministry is not about potential or power, but about the promise:  “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world…”  What a mission!  But what a promise!


“A strange sign appeared on the desk of a certain Pentagon Official.  In bold, black letters it read:  THE SECRECY OF MY JOB DOES NOT PERMIT ME TO KNOW WHAT I AM DOING.  That reminds me of a similar sign that should be placed upon all of our desks as ministers of the Gospel:  THE SACREDNESS OF MY JOB DOES NOT PERMIT ME TO KNOW WHAT I AM DOING…

Copyright 11/16/16  Alvarado, Texas

About danserns

Happily married and father of three great kids. Seventh-day Adventist pastor who invites everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord, embrace all the teachings of the Bible and join a vibrant Adventist group.
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