Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called. (1 Corinthians 7:20)
There is often a great deal of discussion and misunderstanding surrounding the matter of ‘our calling’ in Christ. Many Christians seem to have missed the reality that each and every one of us has a specific calling beyond the call to salvation. Yet the Bible is clear that He has a purpose for us, a purpose for which we were specifically created, shaped and trained. Each one of us is fitted into the body as a particular member, and each member has a specific role to play. We we crafted to fulfill that role or purpose, and so complete the body of Christ.
Misunderstandings on this truth possibly arise out of the apparent separation between ministry and secular employment. The assumption is that unless one is ‘called to ministry,’ we cannot claim to have a calling. This is far from the truth of what God intends for us. Quite simply, every single circumstance of our lives is an opportunity for us to move in our calling, whatever that might be.
A businessman, for example, may be called into a ‘ministry of giving.’ He may have been raised up to excel in the financial field. Unless he accepts the calling, having confirmed it first with God, he is denying the ministry God has created for him and denying himself the joy of faithful service. Perhaps as a nurse you may feel you’re limited to caring for others with no spiritual impact, but it may be that God has raised you up and put you in your present employment to pray for those that move through your care.
We often look at the story of the burning bush and imagine that God’s calling on our lives must be some kind of supernatural experience. For some, this may be the case. There is a lot we can learn from the burning bush, but this short devotional doesn’t afford the opportunity for a fully study. But, whether it be a still, small voice or a spectacular bush that burns without being consumed, God will always confirm our calling if we seek Him for it.
Some ministries may seem ‘large,’ like those of leading worship, preaching, prophecy and evangelism. But in God’s kingdom, those who joyfully leave the service a few minutes early to make the tea, or who stay after the service to clean, are as important as those who seem ‘more important.’ It’s not the ministry that matters, but the heart in it. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant’ will be heard by many who never stood in front of a church or lead countless souls to the Lord.
Our calling is not so much what we do but how we do it, and how faithful we are in it. The Bible teaches us that those who are faithful will be ‘promoted.’ If you have a longing for ‘larger’ ministry, take hold of what God has given you already, be faithful in that where you are now. He will grow you – and your ministry – according to His purposes. The key is to remain where God has placed us and to be both faithful and joyful in service. Ministry is not ‘ours.’ It is God-given and God-appointed. The real joy and fulfillment come from being faithful and committed, no matter what we are called upon to do.
There are some who balk at the idea of being ‘called,’ incorrectly believing that this means they need to give up everything and head off to foreign shores as a missionary, or start to preach or evangelize. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that perhaps we may be called only to witness through our words and example – how we deal with everyday work situations, or make difficult decisions, or react to peer pressure. Perhaps we are called to pray for those in full time ministry. Prayer is a much neglected calling, but I believe it is the most powerful ministry there is. Without it, those tasked with reaching the unsaved or discipling new converts would encounter struggle and resistance, and perhaps even lack effectiveness.
We are called, first, to relationship with Him. We are called, second, to fulfill His purpose in our lives. It’s so easy to stop at the first and never move forward in the plans He has for us. Be encouraged to seek His face and His instruction. Never step into anything without being sure that it is His voice you hear rather than you own. And as you grow, continue to seek Him for the way forward. There are often temptations to move or change direction that are not of God. The only sure way is ask, listen and then to obey.
Like God Himself, His calling on our lives is holy. It is a precious privilege to serve the Lord of All. Let us find our place and rejoice that the great I Am has chose to work with and through His people, and be bold in the knowledge that whatever He has called us to do, He will Himself provide all that is needed and make the way. All of us are inadequate. There is nothing in any of us that makes us ‘worthy.’ But for His grace and mercy we would not even be able to speak with Him, yet He desires that each of us walk alongside Him to achieve His eternal purposes.
We cannot presume to decide what and where we will work. That is in His hands. But we can decide to take up the challenge and yield to His purposes in joy and praise and thanksgiving. I long for the day when I will hear those words: ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’ There is nothing in this world that could equal the praise of our God, or the knowledge that our lives are not random or incidental. Each life is unique, each person a masterpiece, all designed to take up their part and to complete, in Him, the great and mighty will of our Creator-God.
Thank You, Lord, that we have a purpose that is so much bigger than who we are, or who we think we could or might be. Help us to take hold of our purpose in You. Help us to seek Your will, to know Your purpose, and to take it up with joy and praise and thanksgiving.