If I were to ask you want your calling was, how would you answer? What do you believe you have been called to do in your life?
I think would we choose to answer that question differently based on our understanding of what the word “calling” means. Some of us might answer that our job is our calling. Others may say they are called to serve a particular way or work with a particular organization. Still others might say they were called to be parents or gardeners. What does it meant to be “called” to do something?
We speak a lot in the ministry about a “calling.” I can’t imagine anyone entering in the Lord’s service without being called to do so. “Yeah, I was reading through the want ads and saw a job opening for a pastor, so I thought I’d give it a try.” For those of us in the ministry, it just doesn’t work that way! We feel called to do what we are doing.
That’s not to say we’re the only people who are called to serve God. I believe everyone is. As a minister, I have the unique opportunity to merge my call (how I serve God) with my job (how I support my family). For some people, their job gives them the resources to live out their call; for others, their job is their calling.
There’s no right way to define your calling. If you feel you are serving God through what you are doing (be it through work or church or volunteering or family) then you are answering a call. In fact, the only wrong way to define your calling is to say you don’t have one! God’s kingdom is big enough for each one of us to have a role. You have a call.
So how do you identify your call? First of all, a call is never self-serving. God never calls us to do something that stops with us. When we answer our call, we’re taking the gifts God gave us and multiplying them to share with other people. We know we are answering God’s call in our life when other people are being blessed through it.
Secondly, being called doesn’t necessarily mean adding something to your plate. I believe a lot of people spend their lives looking for their call without realizing that sometimes God calls us to keep doing exactly what we’re doing! For example, I look at parenting as a call. Leigh and I are called to raise our girls to know God and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Whether or not we are successful remains to be seen! But that is one of the calls God has put in our heart.
Thirdly, a true call from God brings God glory. Every call is important, whether it draws a lot of attention or goes unnoticed. Some people are called to serve in more public ways; others are called to serve in ways that don’t get much attention. We serve, not to please ourselves or others, but to please God. And God sees it all!
Finally, a call from God is one that you can’t do alone. If your response to God’s call is, “That’s a snap!” it’s probably not God doing the calling. I know many minister, myself included, who heard God’s call and said, “You want me to do WHAT?” A call from God is one that can only be answered with God’s help.
I encourage you to stay open to God’s leading in your life and to answering the call God places before you. You may be called to do something you never imagined or something with which you are intimately familiar. Most of all, I pray that God blesses you through your call just as I know you will be a blessing to others when you answer it.