Making It Count

Wow. That blog title is just begging for some sort of ‘One Shining Moment’ sports analogy, isn’t it? I’m sure I could find one, from the Rangers win on Monday night, to Tebow’s comeback on Sunday afternoon.

I’m sure there are many who are thanking the Lord that I’m not doing that right now. (Even though it’s really tempting… OK…maybe just a picture…)

Today I’m wanting to talk about something that is a word (almost) every Christian has uttered at one point in their lives.

Calling.

Did reading that word bring several different thoughts to your mind? Maybe you’re wondering what your calling is. Perhaps you think that your calling has passed you by. Or maybe you’re one of those people who is assured of your calling, where you are and what you do fit right in with what you think that is.

My goal is to challenge all those thoughts, and the people (you & me) who hold them.

For the last couple of years I’ve read various articles and blogs about making a difference, passion, talent, creativity and, yes, calling. The information I’ve read over and over is that if you love something so much that your heart burns with it, that is your calling. If you are so consumed with a talent or idea or people group – that is your sweet spot. And nothing in the world will be right until you have thrown yourself into this… thing.

I disagree with that. Don’t get me wrong – I know that there are passions that are God-given. I know He puts gifts inside of us and expects us to use them to His glory. Scripture repeatedly talks about how our Father loves giving us good gifts.

My issue is not with God. It’s with us. Because I think we’ve hijacked the idea of calling. We’ve defined it as something that makes us happy and brings us satisfaction in life. We make these dreams and with them usually come some sort of glory or recognition. We make ourselves the star of our own calling.

Scripture seems to have a different definition. (See paragraphs above for caveats about gifts.)

Here’s what I see in Scripture about the difficulties of calling: It’s uncomfortable. It makes you unpopular with people. Many times you are frustrated. Sometimes, you don’t even have what you need. You feel alone. It can even lead to death. It requires you to take a stand. It brings affliction.

And here is what I see in Scripture about the joys of calling: An intimate walk with Jesus. Being set apart for His purpose. Unspeakable joy because you have the Unspeakable Gift. Peace that passes all understanding. A confidence in the Lord that is unshakeable, even in the face of death. Comfort in the affliction. Knowing that this life is but a shadow of things seated in Heavenly places.

We’ve taken calling and made it comfortable. Jesus calls us and uses it to mold us into His image, which is one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever experienced. We want to be the star of the show. Jesus shows us that it is only through serving the least of these and being last do we inherit the Kingdom. We want people to know who we are. Jesus asks us to do His work, not even letting the right and left hands knowing what they are doing.

One example that sticks out in my mind is that of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa. Both women were well-known in the media, one more than the other. One talked to AIDS patients, brought attention to the dangers of mine fields and had her every move captured by cameras. The other ministered in the slums of Calcutta for 30 years before her work was even noticed. They died 6 days apart. One had a funeral splashed across every paper and watched by nearly (seemingly) everyone in the world. The other passed into eternity in relative calm by comparison.

My point with that story is we often express the desire to have a Mother Teresa type call (serving people, helping the starving children of the world, fighting poverty) but many times, I’ve seen people desirous of the “Princess Diana” effect in their calling. (Please know, I’m totally guilty of this as well, so I’m not pointing fingers at any one person… I’m pointing fingers at all of us. 🙂 )

So what are your thoughts on calling? Do you feel like you’re living and walking in yours? If so, how was it defined for you? If not, what would define calling for you.

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4 thoughts on “Making It Count

  1. Very well done and easy to read. I am totally with you on all counts. Thanks for sharing your musings! My calling is to love God with all I’ve got. He has been faithful to give His gifts, but I wouldn’t want to presume to know my calling because it is dynamic and always catches me by surprise…I just want to love Him and love Him more each day. Each time I think I have “a calling”, it was merely a way to bring me closer to Him and I laugh at myself constantly for ever thinking He would stretch out a lit path in front of me to where I could see myself going in the future. God has an awesome sense of humor…I just laugh and love with Him! Maybe some people have God-prepared agendas…just not me…loved this post…By the way, if you haven’t read “No Greater Love” by Mother Teresa, it is unbelievable…I mean, to hear it from her own voice is humbling to say the least. She was not only in love with Christ, she obviously loved others as well. And her simple, yet profound insights are amazing. Keep up the great work.

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  2. Christians, in general, have a hard time embracing suffering as a potential part of calling. If it’s not glamorous, then it must not be Christian appears to be the motto of many churches and Christians today.

    Suffering often leads to calling. That’s not too attractive, but I see it time and time again with those who truly desire to follow Him. But we don’t like messy, so we banish the suffering and exalt the proud.

    The church in America today would probably not enjoyed the company of the apostle Paul. He’d have a hard time being published today.

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    1. It is a brutal path at times I must agree, but isn’t this the case in a non-believers life as well? Personally, I have done much suffering, and this I know…Suffering with and for Christ is a heck of a lot better than to suffer in miserable hopelessness. When you stay close to the Lord, you get to know His ways…He can direct your paths…they ain’t easy all the time…but at least you KNOW who your working with! When I have suffered without the persoal closeness to God, it is a terrifically dark place that I can assure you, by the grace of God Himself, I will never return. Everyone suffers and yes Christians will be led to very trying circumstances, but it is for His glory and who of us Christians wouldn’t be willing to lay our lives down for the One who loved us first! Sign me up, bring it on! Love has no boundries…

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  3. DiscipleGideon – thank you for stopping by! Loved what you wrote about how God has revealed “calling” in your life. I agree – it is pretty funny to think that He’s going to lay out every single step of our lives. Can you imagine how badly we’d mess that up? (Even worse than what we do now…) I also love Mother Teresa’s book ‘No Greater Love’. Such a beautifully simple woman who had a deep and intense love for Jesus. Great read!

    TDub – love your thoughts as well. I definitely agree that we have a very difficult time accepting suffering as a part of calling. In fact when I was writing this, I had similar thoughts about Paul and today’s church. And you’re right – we don’t like messy or unattractive – but in my own experience with my own mess – that’s usually right where I’ve found Jesus. You know I want to hear your other thoughts. (45 minutes is a long time…)

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