I can still remember it as if it were yesterday though it is now over twenty years ago. I was three months into a university course that I was beginning to think was such a waste of time. A desire to reach the lost for Christ was beginning to rise over my soul. In my immaturity I thought that the best solution was to drop out and do whatever came to hand and go wherever with the gospel. I shared my dream with a new friend, who was later to become my wife. Thankfully her counsel was so wise(and still is) - to stay the course, finish what I had started and learn what the Lord was wanting me to learn.
As I look back on that time I am thankful for a lesson learnt - there are no quick roads to being equipped to perform the work of the ministry. Often we must bend our necks to those tutors and governors that the Lord has appointed in his providence to bring us to some state of usefulness. For four years a degree in Geography had to be completed where the discipline of study was learnt for days ahead. Then a year of post graduate teacher training where some gifts for teaching were honed. Then five years of teaching, interacting with a a range of ages and learning what life was like in the work place. Then three years of hard grind at theological college, sweat and tears over Hebrew, Greek, and a list of other subjects.
And every day I am still trying to learn this lesson that there are no quick roads to being prepared for ministry. Every day learning to bend the neck to God's appointed tutors - to be busy in the books, reading and being equipped, submitting to His providences that by His great grace I might be of some use to Christ the King and of some benefit to His people for the little while that breath rises and falls in my body.
If you are a young man reading this remember to bend your neck. Bending the neck voluntarily is much easier than having it bent for you. He has had to do that for me too - but that is another story. There are no short cuts. Don't be a half baked preacher or whatever. Whatever is critical to you being the best that you can possibly be for Christ - just do it - NOW! Only one life it will soon be gone.