You have probably heard this humorous play on the words, “Many are called but few are chosen.” It is far from my thoughts to open up a theological can of worms by discussing this phrase, but the word “calling” has long been one to provoke interesting discussion. I would ask you this question, “Do you feel that God has called you to do what you do?”
There is obviously a general call of God to all to repent and become part of his family. Is this then followed by a more specific call to those who do; maybe to a particular position or task? Or is there perhaps a general call of responsibility to all Christians? The Scripture leaves little doubt that all believers become “ambassadors’ carrying the message of the Gospel wherever they are and in whatever they do. This could be determined as “a calling” to all of us.
I believe that over the years we have wrongly separated the sacred from the secular when it comes to Christian ministry. We have come to restrict the word “calling” to apply only to those who are in pastoral ministry when, in reality, we are all called to minister. We read that pastoral leaders have the task of “equipping the saints for the work of the ministry.”
However, there are those who do receive a very specific call to undertake a special task. They have not necessarily heard an audible voice but have experienced an overall deep impression upon the heart and mind that just does not go away. One might call it a witness of God’s spirit with theirs. They are only truly satisfied when the task is undertaken and the “calling” fulfilled. But for most of us that is not the case. We live, we work, we play without having that special “calling” but nonetheless, we are called.
It seems to me that God is more concerned about our relationship with him than fulfilling any specific task. We are not on a performance treadmill. We don’t earn “brownie points” by what we do. We are simply “called” to be ourselves as Christians and seek to bring glory to God through our lives.
As for the work we do, be it housewife, mother, retailer or president of a corporation, it matters little the position we hold. What matters is that we are faithful to our “calling” in Christ. When it comes to occupation, a friend of mine used to say “Do the work that is closest to hand and God will lead you on from there.” I guess that is fulfilling our “calling.” There really is no need to get uptight and raise questions such as “Am I doing the will of God?” or “Have I missed God’s best for my life?”
I recently came across a prayer by Thomas Merton, a puritan. I will quote part of it here, “My Lord God… I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.”
“But I believe the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing…And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost…for you are ever with me…”
A very honest prayer, one with which we may identify as we seek to live out our “calling”!