It has been my experience, that when the question of “calling” is raised, it is virtually always attached to the idea of some personal, special destiny or pursuit. Someone feels “called” to be a lawyer, a doctor, a homeschooling Mom, a prayer warrior, a musician, poet, worship leader, artist, encourager, writer, businessman, influencer etc. You name it. And people are encouraged to find their calling. To settle on who or what it is they are to be about in this world. What they are meant to be. Because God has some secret personal mission each of us is responsible to divine. With the unspoken implication that if you are just a worker (name the industry), just an ordinary Joe or Jane with no sense of a cosmic appointment, somehow, you are not fulfilling your REAL – calling. You are living below your spiritual privilege and even responsibility. After all – we are ALL special – aren’t we? No one is ever meant to be “ordinary.” Heaven forbid.
Additionally, calling is the typical language of ministry. Many a seminary for instance requires their applicants to express some sense of their “calling” to ministry before admission. And almost all of those who I know personally in ministry (be it pastoral or any other branch) will use that language as well – they believe (most often, they feel) they are called to it. Don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a reality behind knowing whether or not one has the gifts, inclinations and character that ought to properly accompany the one who ventures upon the ministry of the Word, especially in the pastoral setting. And I have no doubt some very much do believe they are called to serve the Body of Christ in this way. But in a day and age where the rule of thumb seems to be if anything CAN be done, then it SHOULD be done (think: abortion, transexualism, genetic research and experimentation, etc.) many are those who simply have charismatic personalities, the gift of gab and the desire to have an audience – who take that as a calling to preach, teach and occupy places of authority in the Church.
Shuffling all of that aside, I wonder if we have simply gone through Scripture to get a real handle on what the Christian is unambiguously called to? If you are a Christian, you ARE indeed, called. A calling which requires no subjective feeling to verify; that does not make you stand out among your peers; and does not define you over and against any others in the Body of Christ. A calling, which if pursued, brings us face to face with things much, MUCH higher than concentrating on self. To a place of freedom in self-forgetfulness, because of the glory and wonder of it.
So, the first passage I would bring to your attention, one we’ve dwelt on before but bears repeating – is that found in Romans 1:6: “you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.”
Now let that sink in beloved. The first calling of every Christian, is to live mindful that they no longer belong to themselves, but that we belong to Christ, are the property of Him, and are the blood-bought trophies of – God’s grace. We do not belong to ourselves. We do not get to tell Him how we will serve. We were purchased that we might serve Christ’s interests, not He ours. This is our first calling. Our high, glorious, unimaginable calling. Just to be His, before we are anything else. Surrendered to Him. Seeking Him. Walking with Him. And if we are not settled in this, anything else we may think of as a calling in life, is irrelevant. Meaningless. No matter how amazing it might seem to us.
I know it is not politically correct in our day to imagine anyone as actually being someone’s property – but it is the Biblical concept of the Redeemed. Redeemed from slavery to sin and death, back to being the image-bearers of the Living God. Back to being at His beck and call, at His disposal 24/7/365. Back to our original purpose – in carrying out His plans and purposes.
So let me ask you – have you attended to this aspect of your calling yet? Have you simply yielded to not being your own, but His? That as His agent and representative, you are to order your life around the plans and purposes He has revealed in His Word? Setting aside your personal preferences, ambitions and goals, simply to be at His disposal? Don’t worry about what you FEEL called to, until you have started here: You are called to belong to Jesus Christ. The theater(s) in which you live this out, are not even secondary – they are WAY down the line.
That, will take a ton of pressure off of some of you. It may be frustrating to others, or even disappointing – because you have imagined your sense of calling to be far more tasty to your sense of self. But it is your first and highest calling. And in time, it will prove the single most important thing you can arrive it this life.