I surrendered to the ministry when I was 10 years of age.Â The legitimacy of my calling was put to the test early on.Â As a kid I used to stay up late and listen to far off radio stations.Â One of my favorites was KMOX in St. Louis, Missouri.Â They were Talk-Radio before Talk-Radio was cool.
One night they had base-stealing legend, Lou Brock, on the air and they were interviewing him.Â Then they opened the phone lines and invited calls from the audience. I tried to resist the temptation, I really did!Â I failed.
Here I am, a 10-year-old kid, standing in the kitchen dialing over and over (on our brand new push button phone by the way), a radio station in St. Louis, Missouri!Â Then, miracle of miracles, I got through!Â I was in line to actually talk to Lou Brock!
Nobody told me I might be holding for 45 minutes. Quite frankly I probably wouldn’t have cared if they had told me.Â They finally brought me on and I talked for a couple of minutes with Lou Brock and then it was over.Â I excitedly went back to bed and was unable to sleep.Â How do you go from a conversation to a far off place like St. Louis and a conversation with a big star like Lou Brock, to sleep?
Hereâ€™s what I hadn’t planned on.Â At the end of the month the phone bill came in at our house! I understand people talk all over the world like itâ€™s down the street now, but not back then! A long distance call was a big deal.Â It had my parentâ€™s attention! They began an investigation that led toâ€¦ ME!Â They asked if I had made the call and like any good future Baptist preacher I responded, â€œAbsolutely not!Â No way, not me!â€
Then my mother sat down on the bed and she said: â€œNow Jeff, (she didnâ€™t call me Dr. Steele or anything) you know you’ve surrendered your life to the ministry. As a minister you must know that telling the truth is a very important thing.Â I want to ask you one more time: did you make this call?â€Â Under that kind of pressure, I â€˜fessed up and said, â€œYesâ€¦yes I did.â€
Whatâ€™s the point of all this?Â As a kid I messed up.Â I did something that was wrong, and then I lied about it. Iâ€™m not much and I know that, but I think I turned out okay. My call to the ministry was real and I have been in full-time Christian service for 35 years.Â Iâ€™m saying: be encouraging to and about your kids.Â Yeah they are going to miss the mark you set sometimes but look at the big picture.Â See the long haul.Â God is watching over them and He loves your children more than you do.Â Lighten up some.Â That C will become a B or even an A and if it doesn’t you will live and so will they. Look around as this New Year begins and enjoy the blessing of your children.Â They grow up SO fast.
Jeff Steele is a singer/songwriter/author. See his website HERE
First published by SGN Scoops in January 2015. For current issues of SGN Scoops digital magazine, click HERE.