Sunday Thoughts: Calling

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So many times, we tend to think of those who follow God’s calling as pastors, missionaries, or evangelists. But how often do you think about the fact that God calls you in different ways, too?

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Of course, there’s God’s call of salvation. As Dr. Wayne Grudem puts it in his “Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine”:

This calling is rather a kind of “summons” from the King of the universe, and it has such power that it brings about the response that it asks for in people’s hearts. It is an act of God that guarantees a response because, as Paul specifies in Romans 8:30, all who were “called” were also “justified.” This calling has the capacity to draw us out of the kingdom of darkness and bring us into God’s kingdom so we can join in full fellowship with him: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9; cf. 1 Thess. 2:12).

But God also calls us to serve Him in all sorts of ways. As the Lexham Theological Wordbook tells us, “Divine calling involves God calling individuals and groups of people to be faithful to him or to serve him in various ways. This includes God calling Israel to be his people, calling people to faith in him, and calling individuals to particular missions or tasks.”

A couple of recent email devotions I received made me consider the idea of our calling to serve. Think about when Jesus called the first disciples:

Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.

Mark 1:16-20 (ESV)

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Jesus was calling these young men to a new vocation, a new mindset, and a way of risking their lives. Yet “immediately” — Mark’s favorite adverb in his gospel account — they dropped everything and obeyed. Would I do that? I don't know. Would you?

Lucy Kemp, the daughter of Gov. Brian Kemp (R-Ga.), writes (emphasis in the original):

When you really look at the stories of the gospels and the people that followed Jesus, we probably like to picture ourselves as the ones who immediately followed Jesus.
 
In reality, we are likely not as urgent in our willingness to follow God as we would like to admit.
 
The first disciples were told to drop everything and follow Jesus. There was no time to consider or talk to someone about the pros and cons. They had to decide right then.
 
I’d like to think my yes reaction would be the same, but how often in my life right now do I hesitate to act on what I feel God is calling me to do or putting on my heart?
 
His path for us may not always make sense in the moment, but the absolute best thing we can do is follow Him - immediately.
 
He will never steer us wrong and following His call, no matter the circumstances, will be better than we could ask, think, or imagine.

There’s also the calling to serve Him in our everyday lives through our families, our jobs, our ministries, and the way we worship. The Apostle Paul reminded the Ephesian church:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

Ephesians 4:1-7 (ESV)

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A recent BetterMan devotion reminds us that God calls us to work for His glory (emphasis in the original):

Paul was in prison at the time of writing Ephesians. Paul considered himself a prisoner whether in prison or out. He was no longer free to do what he wanted because he followed Christ. Paul wanted you and me to follow Christ as he did, to be a prisoner, renouncing our freedoms and giving all to Jesus…

What does it look like for you to follow Christ in your calling to work? Paul would say it means you work for God. You consider Him in your decisions, fully serving Him instead of the world. If you walk in this way, you’ll have joy unlike the world. You will have faith and hope not seen in most meetings on a Monday morning. It means you handle busyness and traffic differently. You constantly have His promises on your mind and heart.

[…]

Seeing our vocation as a calling is paramount. Because we have been called by God to work, we are responsible for excelling in all He calls us to do. When you work hard, do your job well, and go the extra mile, you bring glory to the Lord.

Do you see your work as a calling from God? Or are you merely “working for the weekend” as the 1980s song declared? Work should be more than collecting a paycheck. You are not there by chance or accident. God has ordained you to serve Him and others through your vocation. God is providently at work.

How can seeing your job as a calling from God impact your vocational life?

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What does it mean to view your work as a calling? I’m blessed to have a job where I get to use my talents and skills. Not every day is sunshine and roses, but I get opportunities like these to share nuggets from God’s Word with you.

I know that God has called me to do what I do. I pray that you can see your job and other aspects of your life as God’s calling for you.

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