Mother Theresa said “I was not called to be successful but faithful. each one of us has something beautiful to do for God”
Every Christ follower must discern the task God wants him to fulfill. CALL is the word that describes this challenge. Every Christ follower is a called person.
1 Corinthians 7:17 “Let each of you lead the life that the Lord has assigned, to which God called you”
Every one of us has a 3 fold vocation in life:
1. Become the person God wants you to be
2. Care for those closest to you as Christ loves you
3. Participate in God’s Kingdom dream for a healed and healing world
God has a Kingdom assignment for you. It is a good work with your unique name on it.
God sends everyone into the world with a special message to deliver, with a special song to sing for others, with a special act of love to give. Nobody else can speak your message or sing your song or offer your act of love.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life”
Under your feelings of emptiness and unfulfillment lies hidden the unexplored treasure that is your personal calling.
It is important to note that the depressed or mentally ill cannot even begin to comprehend this calling. They also cannot experience any kind of significant relatedness to the Holy God.
1. Discovering your personal calling nourishes your life and that of others.
God longs for all of creation to be made whole. His call will never diminish or restrict your life. Engagement with God’s call brings you alive, releases locked-up potential and gives real meaningful fulfillment. Jesus said “It is meat and drink for me to do the will of Him who sent me” John 4:34. Your personal call is not for your own sake alone. It always points your heart and mind towards your neighbour. It will always connect you with some of the worlds pain and it will meet real human needs. When you live out your call it becomes a way in which you lay down your life for others. You will also become an instrument of God’s SHALOM & healing.
St Francis said,
“Where there is hatred, we sow love
where there is injury, we bestow pardon
where there is doubt, we bring faith
where there is despair, we bring hope
where there is darkness, we shed light
where there is weakness, we inspire strength
where there is sadness, we bring joy.”
2. Awareness of a personal call usually brings about RESISTANCE
This is very evident in the story of Moses and the burning bush. Moses tries to side step his call with excuses like – “I’m nobody” “I don’t know enough about God” “What if I fail?” “I don’t have what it takes” “Someone else will do it better”
Thankfully you don’t have to deal with these resistances alone because the God who calls you also empowers you. The joy you experience when you pursue your call strengthens you. God’s people will also give you gifts of affirmation and encouragement. Your personal call is not stereo typed or standardized. It will portray the infinite creativity of the Creator-Redeemer, God. While varied they always unite in common cause and serve the purposes of God’s Kingdom in a torn and fractured world.
Your Spirit-breathed call will: bring good news to the oppressed, bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to captives, bring release to prisoners & comfort those who mourn. Never think that it’s only your pastor that is called. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone has something beautiful to do for God.
3. The relationship between calling & your job
Personal calling involves living from the inside out. It is freely responding to the inner promptings of the Spirit. It is expressing the unique ESSENCE of who you are. It is giving yourself away in a way that enriches the lives of others. It may be something you do which forms part of your daily job or it may be an activity which you do far away from work. For unemployed people and retired people, personal call is an even more urgent issue because personal call preserves a sense of personhood and dignity.
Are you able to live out your personal call without being paid? Are you fortunate enough to be living our your personal call in your daily job while you are paid for doing what you love and what you believe God has called you to do?
However you must never under value the importance of your daily work. Unemployment is a major soul-killing form of oppression! You are made in the image of the worker-God, and it is good and right for you to work.
Discerning & following your personal calling
1. There is a need for a discerning process since there is no neat and tidy formula for knowing & understanding your personal calling.
Personal calls are only discovered through an ever-deepening relationship and increasing intimacy with God.
As you walk along God’s signposted road you are placing your life consciously in the way of the God who calls. You will also enhance your ability to discern the burning bush moments and be strengthened to act on what you discover.
WE ARE CALLED TO BEING BEFORE WE ARE CALLED TO DOING!
Jesus invites you to be in community with him first and then he calls us you into your ministry tasks.
COMMUNITY precedes COMMISSIONING!
2. The primary gift you bring to the world is WHO YOU ARE! The compassionate and responsive person that God is gradually shaping and forming. God writes the message that you will deliver in your lifetime into the internal fabric of who you are becoming. Desciphering this message is what discernment is all about. Ask yourself these questions – “What do I really care about?” “How can I follow my heart more faithfully?” “What are my gifts and where can they enjoy fuller expression in the cause of the Kingdom?”
3. Personal calling intersects with the experience of PAIN. Pay attention to your groans and struggles because it puts you in touch with the Spirit who shares your suffering, speaks to you in your pain and calls you to be a channel of healing and wholeness in our broken world. Discerning your call is rooted in this kind of listening. Attending to your inner groans happens best with a trusted friend who can be your “wailing wall” and “listen prayerfully” to the pain you bear. Planted in your pain may be the buried seeds of the good deeds that God wants you to do for him. There are clues in your inner pain that will enable you to discern your calling.
4. Personal calling also requires that you have a growing awareness of the human struggles around you. You must practice the spiritual discipline of planned encounters with those who are suffering. Through this exposure your heart will be penetrated more deeply to the human cries of suffering around you. God speaks in these cries and He calls you to colabor with him in the work of making whole what is broken. Ask yourself – “What human cry in my community disturbs me most?” “Is it the dying?” “Is it the bereaved?” “The drug addicted?” “The homeless street children?” “The cry of the depressed?”
Your calling may lie beneath these cries from humanity.
In conclusion then you must first and foremost be in a close relationship with God. Understand too that a personal calling unfolds slowly as you are formed by God to become more and more like Christ. You are the primary gift to this world and you have a beautifully unique message of hope and healing to deliver to this desperate world. Never forget that your own personal pain could lead to your personal calling.