The notion of calling is an interesting one. For too many Christian men, the idea of a calling is so intangible that they never really grasp it. As a result, many feel that their life does not have the purpose and impact that it should.
Just Tell The Priest “YES”
I remember just starting out in vocational ministry in 2005 as a youth pastor, and a month later I was attending my best friend’s funeral. During the meal, my parents were excitedly telling the priest that their son (myself) was also in ministry.
I clearly remember the priest’s comment, “As long as you’ve been called. Have you got your calling from God?”
At that time, I didn’t really understand the notion of calling. I had not heard the audible voice of God like the disciples did. I did not hear God call me as he did Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel, Martha, Simon, or Saul.
Yet through circumstances, passions, gifts, longings of the heart, and a weighing out of options, I believed that I should enter into ministry. I was so convinced of it that my wife and I were willing to move to Australia so I could complete a degree in youth ministry. (Instead, we moved to Winkler, where I started a youth group at a small Vineyard church. But that’s a different story of God’s leading for a different time).
I wasn’t sure if all those facts would satisfy the priest’s questions of calling, so in response to his question, I gave the deepest theological response I could muster up, looked him straight in the eyes, and said, ”Yes.”
The Calling Of Paul
When we start talking about gifts, passions, and longings…some people feel this is humanistic. However, Ephesians 2:10 reads, “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” The truth is that God gave you those gifts, passions, and longings so that you could contribute to his kingdom.
If we look at Paul’s life and consider Ephesians 2:10, we see that Paul was a powerful and relentless leader who could mobilize people. When God met Paul on the road to Damascus, he did not change the gifts, passions, and longings that Paul had. Instead, God revealed his glory to Paul, and Paul responded by being who God created him to be, for the glory of God.
Paul was still called to be a powerful and relentless leader who could mobilize people. But he lived out his calling by taking the gospel to the Gentile nation.
Three Ways to Understand Your Calling
Too often, we believe that a calling must be ultra-specific. We believe we must fully understand exactly where, exactly why, exactly when, as well as audibly hear the voice of the Lord.
However, I have found that most men cannot resonate with this thinking and end up believing that they have no clear and purposeful calling.
That simply is not true. Remember Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
Let me suggest three ways to understand calling that may help you discern what God may be calling you to do with your life:
- The Dot
You are sure that you have heard from the Lord very specifically about where you should be serving. Whether it is vocational ministry or marketplace ministry, you know that where you are is exactly where God wants you to be. Or, you strongly know you need to make a move.
- The Category
If you do not feel strongly drawn to any particular role, responsibility, or organization, your calling might be found in The Category. If your calling is found here it will be less specific in place and more specific in segment or sphere – such as healthcare, education, government, business, or accounting.
- The Principle
If you have not found your calling in The Dot or The Category, that may lead you to believe you don’t have a calling. However, your calling may be actually be found in The Principle – you have strong clarity on specific characteristics of your calling and the reasons for it. A helpful question to ask might be, “What breaks your heart?”
Whether you find your calling in The Dot, The Category, or The Principle, may your life bring glory to God.