All Christians have a calling in their lives. Most of us will experience a number of "calls" - urges from God that lead us into new places on behalf of the gospel. I don't believe that God asks us to do one and only one thing and then our work is done. God asks us to work for the sake of the gospel throughout the entirety of our lives, calling us again and again onto different journeys.
The language and concept of "call" is very familiar to me growing up in church, in the South, and in a pretty observant home. I'm learning, however, that not everyone is comfortable with this language or the idea that we all have work to do for God's reign. Many Christians unfortunately don't appreciate that all of us in the body of Christ - clergy and lay, men and women, young and old, uneducated and educated, urban and rural - are called by God. All people are gifted and needed, invited and sent by God for the sake of the world.
To be "called" is to recognize that God has a claim on our lives. Too often the church doesn't explain or explore what it means to have a calling or to be called. We simply expect folks to intuitively know what being called means, but they don't. I know people who bristle at the word "call." They've never seen a burning bush. They don't hear God in their head when they pray. They don't experience revelations on a daily basis. How can they know what God is calling them to do? How can they know who God is calling them to be?
I think it's important for us to spend time together in extended silence listening to God's breath in our breath, God's hope in our hearts, God's joy in our joy. Most of us won't have earth-shattering mystical moments...and that's okay. But all of us can experience God tugging at our hearts in such a way that we know that we are being led, urged, invited, called into a sacred and holy life.
Callings can be big and they can seem not so big. We can be called to teach Sunday school or sell our possessions and join an intentional community. We can find ourselves moving closer and closer to a way of life that on one level seems foreign and odd to us and on another level normal and quite reasonable. Sometimes callings challenge everything about us; often they do not.
In my life I have felt an urging in my heart to stop eating meat; and I have. I have felt compelled to live on the earth in a way that honors God and God's creation; I'm still learning how to do that. I have been called away from my home to Washington state for the sake of ministry. I have been called to other countries in order to stir up passions in others for the global church. I have also had callings that I have ignored. Too often I realized this after the fact. God not only calls us over and over, but we can experience multiple calls at once...so, just because you've said "yes" to God about one thing doesn't mean that God isn't already urging you in another way.
All of us are called by God. How are you called for the sake of the gospel, for the sake of creation, for the sake of your community, for the sake of prophecy, for the sake of faithfulness, for the sake of God's realm? How are you called?
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