Things I Struggle With: The Idea of Calling
At the post-secondary school where I am working, the team I work with
has mostly come from a church-type context. And within that context, in which that context has its own sort of
context, we’ve all had certain ways of speaking and thinking when it comes to
God and His ways.
One of those elements that we’ve all heard and spoken of is
the theme of calling. Calling is an important thing that requires thought,
prayer, surrender, mentoring and help. It’s something that calls for complete
and utter growth. It’s not something that can be or should be played with.
Yet we throw the sentence of “I’m called to
__________________!” like it is an air horn in the midst of a rap song (More fyah). And I
hear it all the time when people talk about our Bible College students. And it makes me ask questions…
…does God call people to Bible College? Does he call people
to churches? Does calling change? Can
I really don’t know how I feel about it.
Here’s what I know:
- God calls the world to himself through general and specific revelation, the biggest of all in the life, death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus.
- God calls those who love him (seen through accepting the gift of salvation and living for him...I'm simplifying I know...) even MORE through the life of being a disciple.
- God calls all who love him and want to live the discipled life to go into the world and make disciples. This is done through how we live our lives, choose our lives and grow our lives (jobs, marriages, school, finances, etc.). This is where you see someone say, "I felt God telling me to pray for __________."
- God will call some who love him and want to make disciples to be leaders in his kingdom by dedicating their lives to serving in churches and church-like or church sponsored organization.
So I really don’t think that God calls anyone to a Bible
College, per se. I know that goes against the theory of my job as recruiting new
students but I realty don’t. Instead, I think that God calls people to serve
him in a ministry capacity and from there, one should use wisdom go to a Bible
College as tool to get training for whatever God calls them to. And from there, whatever capacity one serves
in (youth, kids, adults, music), is based on who we are, what we love and where
we’re at during certain spots in our life.
(That said, if you feel God calling you to serve in ministry, do your research based on your region, what a school offers and the price. God will give wisdom and will bless you for your diligent search. And with that, I work at a pretty cool one)
Also, I don’t think that God calls someone to marry another
or maybe even to break up with someone either (I mean HOW MANY TIMES have you
heard someone say, “God just said to end it” because they were actually afraid
to confront actually issues in their relationship? Or even worse, in
themselves? I wonder how many times God’s name and rep gets used to get people
IN and OUT of stuff that glorify themselves…). I think it is a choice. I think
it would be weird if someone walks up to you and said, “God called me to marry
you”. And I think it would be even weirder if you said yes. I mean seriously.
(That said, God calls us to live holy lives and I think God blesses those who live holy lives with wholly lives, which includes spouses.)
Maybe we’ve demystified the idea of the mystery of calling.
Maybe like the word ‘love’, we’ve stripped it of its power and its
specialness. Maybe we lost it after camp
services, retreats and the need to be ‘special’ in front of our peers. Maybe
the idea of calling got intentionally corrupted and elevated by youth pastors
like me and then passed down to students who passed it down to students…
Or maybe I've heard it so much that I need its truth to be REIMAGINED in my life. I am more that willing to admit that too.
The longer I walk the halls of my school and I spend time
with students there, I see called people. Men and women called according to God’s purposes. Set
apart for good works, which God prepared them in advance to do. I see that in
my own two children, even at ages 4 and 2. I see that in my wife. And from time
to time, I see that in me. That’s the call. To know him and to make him known
through inward and outward obedience.
If you know you're called, lived called. Study to show that you mean business. Get mentored. Live right. Have someone call you out and at the same time prop you up. If you're NOT SURE but think you are, do the same things. If you ARE, it'll show up.
How that comes together? Day by day surrender. Not making
about us, but about the One who calls.
He is the one who knocks.
And calls every day.