cooling your calling

8 07 2011

Calling is a funny thing. It’s one of those words we use for Christians with worthy Christian… erm, callings. You know, vicars, missionaries, worship leaders, Mike Pilavachi. Calling is for people with extra-ordinary jobs. It’s for people called out of the secular and into the sacred. Not ordinary people. “They” are called. Not “we”.

That of course is not a very Christian view, and has little Biblical basis. It is, however, what is unknowingly and often unintentionally preached.

Which is why it was refreshing on Sunday to have Ann Moore with us at church, a lady who has spent the last 15 years working in Kisiizi hospital in Uganda. A classic case of the “proper” calling? She spoke about faith that changes people, from Hebrews 11. Her point? That our faith must change us, or it is not true faith; that our faith might lead us to an extra-ordinary calling like going abroad. But just as likely it will lead us to an extra-ordinary calling in the place in which we already live.

We are all called to live as disciples, as followers. All are called to submit our lives to Jesus as our lord. This will impact our families, our parenting, our finances, our friendships. It may impact where we live or what we do; or how we do it. Whether we are “just” a mum in an un-supportive marriage or we are a “missionary” in foreign places, the key thing is: are we submitted to Jesus as much as we can be? Being a called abroad doesn’t guarantee it, nor does being called to be at home cancel it out.

I know. I was called home once. I spent a year living and working in Uganda, teaching Old Testament history to Ugandan, Rwandan, Burundi, Congolese and Sudanese students. I know, God has a sense of humour. I explored the possibility that God was calling me abroad longer-term and God said… no. Go home, he said. Go home and work in your own country. So I went home.

back in the day

That is as much of a calling. As is what I am now, being a husband. Being a dad. Being a friend. Being a part of a church. Being in a running club. As is where you are, if you are submitted to Jesus as Lord. He may call us out of where we are to somewhere else. He may not. That is not the point. The point is, do we allow our faith to change us, to inform our decisions, to lead us? Our identity is found in being children of God, followers of the Way, apprentices of Jesus. 

If we get that, then all the guff about one calling being higher up the spiritual scale than another can be left well behind.




One response

8 07 2011

Maybe we make a mistake when we think of ‘calling’ as being about ‘doing’. Its the old Protestant work ethic, seasoned by the spirit of the age that only man can actually achieve things that is misleading us. It leads to frustration when God doesn’t actually call me to the typical Christian roles – minister, deacon, nurse, Sunday School Teacher etc. It is seen in other’s reaction – what do you do in the Church? Oh!

Actually I think ‘calling’ is about ‘being’. What are you, not what do you do. Are you enjoying Gods creation, are you close to him, are you at peace? God calls us to a unique journey of travelling with him, for our benefit – not as an unpaid workforce. To some but not most, the outcome of that means doing the visible jobs, to some it means a life of prayer, to some it means caring for children or parents, but these things are parts (fruits?) of the journey, not the essence of our relationship with a loving God who is at work in us and is in the process of ressurecting us.

Get that relationship right, and everything else is unimportant. Yet ironically it is only when you get that relationship right that you will be where he wants you, even if that place seems strange to others and even to you, and it doesn’t feel like he ever sent you your call-up papers. At the end of life here I don’t think God will be asking what did you do (well he knows anyway but his computer might be playing up, I think the have Windows in heaven too) but what are you? How will you answer that question?

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