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.
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.