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?
We 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.