This is Part 3 in a series of three posts I’m doing consisting of a paper I was recently assigned to write on the prompt: “Write a letter giving counsel to young men on how to prepare for pastoral ministry and steward their sense of call.” I used Psalm 23 as a motif of how to think through a life aimed at pursuing a call to pastoral ministry. You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. The full paper will be available for download as a PDF on Friday.
And finally, verses 5 and 6:
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD
The greatest enemy of mankind is death, and the greatest feast any man or woman can enjoy is to delight in the victory of Christ over sin and death. It is in this victory over death that the soul learns unending joy. It is in the ministry of the Gospel that we enjoy his victory over death in the life of the Spirit.
Consider that all Christians are heading towards their true home, the heavenly house of God in the New Heavens and the New Earth, and that the Lord has instituted pastors as his workmen in helping his children sojourn home. The Spirit of God is building the house of God, made of living stones – people with lives and stories like you and me – to mirror the glory of Jesus Christ. If you desire to be a workman of God, then you must study the only infallible tool of the Spirit, his Word. It is the Lord’s Word that is more precious than gold and sweet as honey to the soul; perfect for reviving the soul; sure for making the simple wise; right for rejoicing the heart; pure for enlightening the eyes; clean and enduring forever; true and righteous altogether. Learn to apply the Word to your own soul with Biblical, pastoral precision, finding encouragement when fainthearted, help in weakness, admonishment in idleness. As you learn to do this with your own soul and those around you, the evidence of pastoral ministry will begin to show. As you learn the Word of God, a primary test for pastoral calling is how effectively you can communicate and teach the Scriptures. A pastoral calling is not simply character, but public gifting to edify and strengthen the church. If we are a spiritual house (and we are) and the Spirit is the builder of the house (and he is) then the tool the Spirit uses is the Bible, perfect for all our needs.
Here we join our themes: As a man of the Word, you learn to guard yourself and will of the Shepherd as a humble lamb of Christ in service to the flock of God, which He obtained for life by his death, over whom the Spirit may make you an overseer. A life towards pastoral ministry is one with this single eyed vision in mind: Serving the flock of God whom Christ procured at the cost of his own blood.
I will leave you with this: May the God of all peace tenderly carry you like a lamb, lead you in all your desires for ministry that you might have wisdom, and satisfy you with his unending river of joy through his Son Jesus Christ. To his name alone be glory and praise in the church, from his people and elders, forever and ever. Amen.
Yours in Christ,
 On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 25:6-8; conf. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55)
 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)
 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16)
 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
 Psalm 19:7-11
 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
 “an overseer must be…able to teach” (1 Timothy 3:2)
 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)