Hesitating, I stood to my feet. I heard the question asked, similar to one that would always come on these weekends but the way this was worded, well, I had to stand. In a room of several hundred of my peers, I wondered why everyone wasn’t on their feet. The man had asked: ‘If Jesus called us to serve him, would we? If he called us to be a minister of his gospel (my church has always ordained women) would we answer His call?‘
So why wasn’t the whole room standing? Was this a trick question? Did I fall for it? These annual youth weekends typically ended with a public call to serve. Those already accepted to seminary would be marched to the front of the room to stand on risers and then the question would be asked of others who felt God’s call.
Come now. Come and join the ones in the front of the room.
But this wasn’t the final meeting. It wasn’t that call to serve, it was just a question of if he, would we. Not many stood that night but apparently more heard the call by the time the parade to the front of the room came in the closing meeting.
I believe Phylis was called to teach. I saw her with her students, with their parents, with our children. She noticed the ones who held back and knew how to draw them out. She recognized the lazy, but smart ones, who needed to be challenged. She understood teaching was more than content of text books. I don’t believe Phylis would have felt fulfillment from any other type of job or career. She was called to teach.
Barbara was called to non-profit work. She didn’t start out that way, but after her first taste at working for a non-profit organization, she never looked back. I wonder if she sees the calling in it? Does she understand this is the work God has called her to do?
Churches talk a lot about being called: Are you called? Has Jesus called you?
What they’re asking is, are you called to ministry; to be a pastor or missionary or youth leader. Is Jesus calling you to serve with the visitation committee or in the nursery?
It sounds as if there is no calling outside the church walls.
“We are not primarily called to do something or go somewhere; we are called to Someone. We are not called to special work but to God. The key to answering the call is to be devoted to no one and to nothing above God himself.” Os Guinness
I posed the question on Facebook: “Have you felt a sense of calling in what you do?” Usually when I ask serious questions, crickets. This time, folks had a lot to say about their calling.
“Is there a difference between God “calling” you and God “guiding” or “directing” you? I think all of them get you the same place if you listen and obey. I think “calling” might be a direct voice, like Samuel in the Bible. I think He uses different methods on different people.”
“I think “calling” and “guiding” are definitely interrelated. And I agree that calling is not limited to ministry. I come from a faith tradition of people receiving a calling or direct guidance toward a specific path in all areas of our lives. At this point in my life I believe that the gifts we’re each created with are part of how God places a calling in our heart, and part of how we become who we were created to be is by fully engaging in and nurturing those gifts. This entire season of my life as I’ve transitioned from ministry and business career into writing and other opportunities still to be identified has been full of the very questions you’re asking about calling”
“Since getting sober almost 5 years ago…. I struggled with that for awhile actually , “what does God want me to do now?? How can I give back at all using the talents He gave me?” ….. after “getting fixed”, I looked at my business in a different, focused way. I started donating more of my time and talents to work with the awesome Icing Smiles Canada , and “church” related functions to donate and help folks in the form of cake/sugar art…..and now I TEACH!! (Doesnt sound that special but to those that truly know me, as Im sure youve seen it here and there when we were together, my social anxiety issues would totally freeze me to NOT do anything like that, ever). These days I work hard everyday to keep my anxieties at bay with prayer and the fact I know that Satan has those anxiety “traps” set for me, I can now recognize them as hurdles he puts in my way to stop me from sharing my God given talents, and it is much easier to overcome…..I will NOT be frozen by evil anymore!! It makes me push harder to do things that my Lord shows me and wants me to pass on!”
This is just the start of the conversation, a conversation I hope you’ll be part of.
Answers often create more questions so I’ll leave you with these:
What is a calling? Is everyone called?
Is there only one calling?
Does your calling change?
Are you called to a ‘greater’ work?
Is there a high calling? The ‘highest’ calling?Does the quote by Os Guinness change anything? Or everything?