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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Disruptive Callings

What would God have to do to get your attention and commitment to take on a new mission in life?  How would you likely respond if he called you by name?  (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, p.137).

The above discussion questions appear in the study Bible at the point where God calls out to Moses from the burning bush.  My first response to the question is that my fundamental mission in life will never change—to be a faithful disciple of Christ.  One can be in a multitude of places and circumstances and still seek to fulfill such a mission.  But here clearly God gives Moses a specific assignment, not some overall mission—an assignment that he could not achieve while living in Midian tending the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law.  So the more difficult question is: what if God were to give me a new specific assignment—one that calls for dramatic changes?  Since I am a “home body” and value tremendously stability in my affairs, what if of a sudden God should ask me to make striking and drastic changes in my life?  In this light it is clear that I also like Moses would require something as dramatic as a burning bush.  Otherwise, I would tend to question the validity of subtle leadings so markedly different from my basic patterns of behavior.  While such a calling cannot be ruled out as impossible, in its absence it is necessary to rely on a pale substitute, namely compelling situations and circumstances that are intensely felt.  Certainly in this world, one need only watch the evening news to know that multiple compelling circumstances always exist.  It’s just that I feel no compulsion to take personal ownership regarding them.  If I were to feel moved to action by some such circumstance, then I would have to conclude that since this is so foreign from my usual practices and habits, that the leadings of the Holy Spirit may well be evidenced.  A low-profile example comes to mind.  Some weeks ago Kathy and I watched two documentaries on the meat industry (Forks over Knives and Food Inc.).  We found the documentaries so compelling, we became vegetarians on the spot.  Our awareness of the subject was heightened, we determined that it had a moral aspect, and that new behavior was clearly indicated, exigent, and doable.  In the absence of a burning bush, something on this order of magnitude is necessary (if in fact not something of greater magnitude since major disruptions in life might be called for).  

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