Not many people have a strong desire to sit and watch life go by. Most of us set life goals, get up every morning and move about the day doing what we believe to be our work for the day. Some of us are in business and industry, some in ministry, education, the labor workforce, and some work from the home. In some shape or form...everyone appears to be doing something...at least most everybody--and that is a good thing. However, from time to time I run across those folks that are disgruntled about where they work or their job in general. In and of itself, that's not unusual, because every human has experienced some form of dissatisfaction at one time or another while working. But, God does expect us to work; He gave us a wonderful parable about the ant and the grasshopper and work to help illustrate that. Work is a good thing on many different levels.
What happens, then, when someone says, "I have a calling, and I am leaving the job I have had for twenty years"? Or, "What do you mean telling me I have a calling on my life? I have a job!" That word "calling" appears to be both a blessing and a curse - depending on our understanding and acceptance of its dimensions. It is a multifaceted, meaningful word that God does a wonderful job of clarifying in Hebrews 5.
Please know that what you are about to read is strictly from my personal walk through prayer in seeking a better understanding of ' a calling', 'my calling'. I believe that God has given me some insight to share with others that have sometimes struggle with wondering if they truly have a calling on their life, as well as, those who believe they have a calling, but, when they have tried to walk it out, found themselves sinking in grief, confusion, and, even, despair.
First, let's differentiate between "a calling", "giftings" and "the fruit of the Spirit." Without a doubt, some of you reading this can do a better job of defining these concepts, but this is how God has revealed their meanings to me. The fruit of the Spirit is an attribute, a part of our character that we demonstrate as God strengthens us in particular areas. (Consider for a moment how precious it is when someone shows us patience and kindness - what a blessing it is to our hearts as those gifts are sown into us by a person that walks in that fruit of the Spirit!) Demonstrating the fruit of the spirit is not a uniquely devised plan that has been customized to fit a uniquely created believer - they are for all of us that believe. All of us are encouraged to take up the fruit of the Spirit and utilize those attributes!
Now let's consider those that do brain surgery, climb Mt. Everest, or fly a plane. Remember that teacher that actually brought out the light bulb of understanding over your head in a calculus class? Oh yes - she had a gift - a real gift!!!! This kind of gift is a special skill or talent that has surfaced in your life - and you are seeing it and using it! Maybe your gift has you sitting in a lab all day configuring some chemical combination that will help cure a disease. It's a gift to be able to sit by yourself and work all day - to persevere, stay on task and enjoy that work. Perhaps, you are someone that can pick up a piece of old clunker wood and fashion a bowl or a picture frame from that piece of wood. That and all these other situations mentioned above are gifts, that is skilled, honed talents. But what happens when God speaks to one of our aforementioned workers and says, "Go to India and build bowls and minister to My People - bring them the gospel--the salvation message of My Son?" Going to India is definitely "a calling!" It will always involve utilizing the fruit of The Spirit and the gifts God has given you (your talents) to minister to His Children to bring about salvation or healing in their lives, God's Way.
I believe God is calling us and wanting us, His Children, to move to a deeper place in Him at this time, and that is why this blog about 'a calling' has come about. Moving to that deeper place In Him means hearing Him...talking to Him also, but mostly listening to Him. We discover our gifts most of the time accidently or by someone proclaiming, "Hey - you have a real gift with...!" At times we feel a particular strength in displaying a fruit of the Spirit, and we enjoy sharing that fruit! Sometimes we try to walk out what we perceive to be 'our calling' when we have, perhaps, confused a calling with either a gift or a fruit of the Spirit that we have become sensitive to. Or, sometimes we really do hear 'a call' from God to do something. The problem comes in when we put our effort into it, trying to win His approval or prove our value as a Christian. Both of these avenues of pursuit of 'a calling' can lead to despair.
Hebrews 5: 1 - 6 gives wonderful insight into 'a calling'...
"Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to Him, 'You are My Son; today I have become your Father."
And He says in another place...'You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.'" Notice that He is clear in saying "... to deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray..." Those called by God 'will deal gently' with those that God sends them to minister to. Further, the called one will '"represent them in matters related to God..."
This is key to how God separates 'a calling' from the fruit of The Spirit and giftings. We must have the fruit of The Spirit and giftings present in our lives in order to be effective in our 'calling'. However, I fully believe God can call a person to His Serivce and then give him/her time to develop and grow in the giftings and the fruit of The Spirit before He actually sets that calling into motion. He did that to Paul; so, we can certainly expect that for ourselves. Let's remember a very tried and tested saying, "He does not call the equipped; He equips the called."
I believe that is why so many called Christians suffer so greatly at times. They hear a call from The Lord to serve Him, and immediately set about doing things through their own efforts without the growth and maturity which comes from waiting upon The Lord. At times, this has caused great problems for the called one, their families, and the people to whom they were called to serve. In Hebrews 5: 14, "But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" we are reminded that the 'solid food' of God is for the mature; it is a reminder to us to have a growth and development check to see if we have matured into the calling...not the calling maturing into us.
We are in a time and season where God is seeking growing and maturing Christians. I am seeking and checking my own growth as I answer 'my call'. I encourage you to spend time with Him and ask Him how you are doing. He has His Arms wrapped securely around you, and He has you in the middle of His Heart - trust Him with the answer. Invite Him to lead, from this point on, so He can plant in you whatever is necessary to empower you to answer His Call on your life. What a blessing you are to His Kingdom; as you answer the call on your life! What a Kingdom builder you will become for His Glory, as you walk out your part in the salvation and healing of those He loves so very dearly...all of His Children!
Be blessed on your journey!