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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

God’s Calling

Raised in a Christian home, I was introduced early to the idea that everyone has a calling.  Everyone has a role in life that they can play if they follow God’s leading.  This calling could be a profession or a broader role.  A very familiar construction to this idea is that one can be “called into the ministry.”  Often this involves a particular time and place where one has felt clearly led into the ministry by the Holy Spirit.  My father mentioned a time when he was in France while serving in the First World War.  He was led into an isolated area of the woods where he surrendered his vocation to the will of God.  My brother attended a chapel service at the Methodist retreat at Leesburg and was called into the ministry there.  But while the calling is often mentioned in relation to ministry, it can also be a calling to many other professions and roles.  If you are called by God into a vocation, then you will be led by the spirit in that vocation.  Your job, in a sense, becomes your real and continuous expression of worship.  You worship God by fulfilling his desired vocation for your life.  While being “called into the ministry” sounds right, it can be a little jarring to hear that one has felt “called to be a shoe salesman.”  But actually the latter leading can be just as real and important for the plan of God as the former.  While someone called into the ministry may yearn to be a Billy Graham, actually success as viewed by the world is irrelevant to being faithful.  You are called to be faithful, not necessarily highly profiled in the world or successful in that sense.  Success will be defined by God.

Following the leading of the spirit in whatever decision is at hand, especially watershed decisions, is fundamental to worship.  Sometimes the wisdom of these decisions can be highly debatable, but to one who has the assurance of the Holy Spirit, the way to proceed is clear and is simply something that must be done—on the order of deciding firmly to make an important purchase. What answering a call essentially does is posit great present certainty against great future uncertainty.  Even the broad outlines of the future can be totally a mystery—the wherewithal entirely unknown.  One launches out in faith.  In a sense, it is a test of faith.  Looking back in life, if one has led their life under the call of God, then deep satisfaction is actualized and haunting self-doubts and regrets are nil.         

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