Way back when both kids were seventeen they discovered Christ, the catholic at a catholic charismatic prayer meeting, the evangelical at summer Bible camp.
Both wanted to serve God significantly. The one accepted his yearning as ‘a call into the priesthood’, the other as ‘a call into the ministry’.
It took the one four years to get a bachelor degree, another four to get through seminary, and six months as a deacon before he publicly took his vows of celibacy and obedience. Now he gets to stand behind the altar in colorful vestures, change bread and wine into Jesus, and forgive an assortment of sins.
For the evangelical, the pathway to his goal, the pulpit, was easier. After two years in seminary he was a salaried youth pastor. Proper submissiveness to superiors earned him assistant pastor, and eventually his own pulpit and congregation.
Both catholic and evangelical now have what many (most?) secretly crave…. an audience. The need to be heard runs deep. Who doesn’t want to express, to teach, to point the way? Those wanting significance less would never make the required investment.
Each audience assumes their leader’s relationship with Lord Jesus is exceptional. Hardly.
For these two, abiding in Christ is a major challenge. A servant of man cannot be a servant of the Lord; to get where they are necessitated unreserved loyalty to those higher.
Surrendering hard-earned relevance is tough. And both still have respective ladders to climb, and must outdo the competition. The goal is always bigger audience, greater significance. It’s tough. Non-stop, those over and those under must be placated. Like the salesman, they feign enthusiasm; being real is non-productive.
Naturally they cannot lead their followers into intimacy with Jesus. Can’t give what you ain’t got.
Too bad they couldn’t get together for a coffee. Maybe they would each mirror the other and remind each other of the time their light shone brightest and they were most effective for the Lord’s kingdom…. way back when they were seventeen.