The Qualification Test for Ministry

A young man desired to become a pastor.

At 5:00 a.m. on a dark and snowy morning, the young candidate arrived for his examination appointment. He was brought to an empty office where he waited silently until 8:00 a.m. for the interview.

The examiner, a retired presbyter, began his questioning, “Can you spell?”

“Yes, sir,” the mystified candidate replied.

“Oh, good. Spell bible.”

“Bible: b-i-b-l-e.”

“That’s just fine. Now, do you know anything about numbers?”

“Yes, sir, a little.”

“Please add two plus two.”

“Four,” replied the candidate.

“Thank you,” said the examiner. “I believe you have passed. I will speak with the presbytery board tomorrow.”

At the board meeting, the examiner summarized his interview. “He has excellent qualifications for the pastorate. First, I tested him on self-denial, making him arrive at my home at five o’clock in the morning. He left a warm bed on a snowy morning without any complaint. Second, I tested him on promptness. He arrived on time. Third, I examined him on patience. I made him wait three hours to see me. Fourth, I tested him on temper. He failed to show any anger or aggravation. Fifth, I tried his humility by asking him questions that a seven-year-old child could answer, and he showed no indignation. So you see, I believe the candidate meets the requirements. He will make the kind of pastor that we need in the ministry.”

Adapted from "Illustrations for Biblical Preaching" by Michael P. Green, p. 354, Baker Book House, 1984.

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