Dr. Gary Morsch delivers Trevecca’s Slonecker Lecture

Dr. Gary Morsch challenged students to discover their calling and pursue it with passion during Trevecca Nazarene University’s Slonecker Lecture. Morsch delivered the address during University chapel services on Thursday, Oct. 4.

“At any stage of life, we should be open to God’s calling,” Morsch said. “Calling is a process; It’s a lifelong thing.”

Morsch is a medical doctor, philanthropist and author. He is the founder of several nonprofit organizations, including Heart to Heart International, Docs Who Care and One Heart, Many Hands. In addition, Morsch has served as a U.S. Army physician in Kosovo, Iraq, Kuwait and Germany. He is also the author of a number of books focused on his humanitarian work.

During the lecture, Morsch recounted his career and reflected on his path to discovering God’s calling on his life. Believing there would be a particular moment when the call became clear, Morsch says he didn’t truly realize his calling until his senior year of college.

“My senior year it just dawned on me that I was the one who put God in a box and said, ‘This is how I expect God to call me,’” Morsch said. “I just had to stop and listen and open my eyes and realize that God had been calling me my entire life.”

Opening his eyes, Morsch said, meant paying attention to the passions and gifts God had given him. For Morsch, that meant understanding that his lifelong love of science wasn’t a coincidence, but rather, his calling. Accepting that calling meant taking classes that would prepare him for medical school, effectively changing his major as a college senior. It wasn’t easy, Morsch said, but he “kept plowing ahead,” committed to following where God was leading.

“I remember the day I got the letter,” Morsch said, recalling his acceptance letter to medical school. “I knew if it was just an envelope, it would be a one-page letter saying, ‘Sorry, you’re not accepted.’ But I got a packet.”

Morsch practiced medicine for 30 years but says that God used Morsch’s obedience in following Him to reveal a deeper calling to service.

“I had a passion to serve on the mission field and volunteer because I knew they were short on docs,” Morsch said. “[I served in] intercity clinics and free clinics and became quite an advocate. … That turned into a movement of people wanting to join me.”

Eventually, Morsch created Heart to Heart International, a nonprofit devoted to improving health access, providing humanitarian development and administering crisis relief worldwide, which he still runs today.

“Was God confused when I felt my call to medicine?” Morsch asked. “Of course not. God’s call is to use the gifts you have, the opportunities you have, the doors that open and serve Him.”

Morsch encouraged students to be open to following God wherever He might lead them, stressing that His calling on their life is about obedience and dependence on God’s leadership rather than a one-time event.

More than that, Morsch said, every person has a God-given purpose and calling.

“God calls every one of you,” Morsch said. “There’s not a higher calling and a lower calling, a more noble calling and a less noble calling. There’s not a more spiritual calling, and there’s not a less spiritual calling.

“You can be rich, and you can be poor,” Morsch continued. “You can be smart, and you can be less smart … but God calls every one of you to ministry and that ministry may change from year to year, from decade to decade. Simply be free to serve Him.”

About the Slonecker Lecture

Endowed by Dr. and Mrs. William T. Slonecker, the Slonecker lecture was first given during the 1972-1973 academic year. The lectureship invites professionals who have distinguished themselves in business, science or other professions to give a presentation regarding their work or experience in chapel or during a class session.

Media contact: Mandy Crow, mmcrow@trevecca.edu, 615-248-1695