Tag Archives: Distractions

C is for Calling

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues?( 1 Corinthians 12:29-30 NIV)

Calling is a unique subject, especially among missionaries like me. I feel that I, including my wife and family, was called into missionary service. It wasn’t my choice but God’s. My choice would’ve been a cushy job with a comfy house near family and lifelong friends. I wouldn’t have chosen to tramp around the world bringing the gospel message to billions. But I was called, clearly and unequivocally into full time ministry.

For me it was clear but it seems like a cloud in the minds of many believers. They don’t want to be called to something because they become responsible. Being responsible means taking the blame for failure along with the adulation of success. Some don’t want to be called because they are afraid God might call them to something they don’t like or feel unqualified to accomplish. Many don’t want to be called because they fear the unknown.

Fortunately we’re not all called to do all things. The bible doesn’t provide an exhaustive list of options, just some key items where we might be called. In Corinthians Paul touches on some high profile areas. But even in his list he recognizes not all ministries are for all believers. His questions are rhetorical expecting the repeated answer “no.” Look at my calling, are all called to be missionaries? The answer is “no.” So what do we do?

guam59We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8 NIV)

The key is responding to whatever you’re called to do. And whatever we do we must do with full abandon. I would add some other callings might include, motherhood, fatherhood, businessman, business woman, or just being a neighborhood example. Not all require an outgoing personality. Some are sedate and simple. Some are natural some require training and/or stepping out of our comfort zone. All require all of our effort.

Don’t let others decide your calling. That is between you and God. Preachers love to “encourage” people to find their gifts and calling. Sometimes it comes across as pushy or demanding. Don’t give in and jump into something God hasn’t called you to do just because it is needed. Wait, listen, pray, watch for signs from others, opportunities, interests and allow God to give you the answer.

In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there. Simon and his companions searched for Him; they found Him, and *said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” He *said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, so that I may preach there also; for that is what I came for.”(Mark 1:35-38 NASB)

Jesus gives us a great example. He demonstrates that just because we can do something doesn’t mean we need to do it. He was healing people and the people were looking for him in the morning. They were expecting more miracles. Jesus wasn’t giving in to the group. He had a calling, a goal, a mission from the Father, to preach the gospel message.

How often are we distracted from our calling because we have skills that others think we can use to fix a different ministry. We give in to pressure and usually become involved not in what God wants us to do but what others want us to do. Instead, we should in most cases, keep to our ministry and demonstrate our faith and trust that God will provide the right person for the other ministry.

We need to seek our calling whether in the midst of our own home, neighborhood, the church or the world. Let’s stop trying to fulfill a calling to which we haven’t been called. Let’s rejoice in other’s calling and not categorize them by our perceived human classification putting one calling higher than another.

We all have gifts and some callings. Some are more public and high profile according to the world’s view. All are from God. All are for building up the body of Christ on earth. All are important in God’s purpose. Enjoy your gift or calling or both.

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Bats in the Belfry

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (KJV Romans 8:28)

Over the years, I’ve stayed in a variety of places. These ranged from storage rooms in the back of broadcast complexes, to private homes, hotels, castles and palaces. Yes, I’ve stayed in a palace or two. The first palace I stayed the night in was with my wife and sons on our trip west toward castle Neuschwanstein. While it was considered a “hunting” lodge at one point it eventually was renovated to the status of palace. By the time we arrived it was a retreat center but still spectacular. We stayed in the queen’s room. Yep, the room we occupied was the room normally reserved when the queen came to visit. It was large, luxurious and just the intricate wood designs in the walls and on the ceilings impressed us as we brought in our plastic suitcases and two energetic boys.

Fortunately, it was updated with modern plumbing and heating. We enjoyed the thought of being temporary royalty as we strolled around the room and the grounds. We were traveling with friends who enjoyed the cushy comfort of their own royal chamber.

The second palace we enjoyed a few years later was also converted into a retreat center. In this case it was operated by a Christian group running retreats and summer camps for Christian youth and the occasional adult group. Considering the massive number of steps, we had to climb just to reach our room I can understand why it was more youth oriented than “older” adult oriented.

2008_06_BobPhotos_310Beth and I enjoyed the tallest tower on the south wing. Our room covered two floors within the round tower with a spectacular view of the surrounding valley. We were above most of the rest of the palace with a spire on top of our nice room. The bath and toilet were by the entrance. A few steps up from there was the kitchen and dining area. From there we climbed steep steps (aka a ladder) into the living area. To reach the beds we crawled through a triangular door (like the Krell construction on Altair in the sci-fi classic, “The Forbidden Planet”) where two single sleeping mats were laid head to head. The ceiling over the beds was the roof of the adjoining building giving just enough room to slide in for the night. In truth, I couldn’t sit up without hitting my head on the ceiling. Ah, the comforts of palace living.

Snuggled in for the night, a hot night at that, we eventually fell asleep. I’m not a big fan of sleeping on futon beds but that was what we had. I like a little more padding. Part way through the night we were awakened by a noise in the living area. Since a youth retreat was in progress we thought maybe someone had wandered in thinking the room was vacant. Beth and I crawled on our elbows like the two legged Krell and looked out the portal.

There, flitting back and forth in the living room, were a couple bats enjoying the darkness of night. Apparently, they were doing us a service by gulping down the little critters who were flying around the room looking to feast on us for dinner. The bats, although spooky to watch, were keeping us off the menu for the night. Thank you bats!

I’ve heard the phrase “bats in the belfry” many times in life. That night it took on a whole different meaning. Granted, this wasn’t a bell tower but it was close enough. When we arose we carefully peaked out the Krell doorway and assured ourselves they departed during the morning hours.

I wonder about what God allows to cross the path of my life. Sometimes I get annoyed or distracted as things can flitter this way and that disrupting what I think needs to be accomplished. I want to shoo the distractions out of the way and get on with things. Now I’m inclined to think these ‘distractions’ are at times little helpers to clear away other obstacles from my walk with Him. The have their unseen benefits, like eating insects we couldn’t see in the night, and protect us from hidden obstacles. Next time I’m in a castle with bats I think I’ll just watch them for a while and think of God’s protection.

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