A Call to a Calling
Some people are not going to like what I have to say here. I’ll just say that now.
In our Western-ized, American-ized version of Christianity we have somehow stumbled upon this idea that we have “callings.” Often times these callings are tied to careers: I’m called to be a ____ (surgeon, teacher, marine biologist, entrepreneur, actor….you fill in the blank). Author Frederick Buechener puts it this way, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.”
I’m sorry. But no.
I wish that this quote was straight out of the Bible. It would make my life (and yours) WAY more convenient and comfortable. Unfortunately I believe this mindset has been formed from wanting to pad our cush lifestyles while still wearing a Jesus badge. Hear me: I am in no way discrediting someone’s call to acting or singing or business owning or ANY other career. But also hear me when I say that if we think God’s call somehow always aligns with our personal dreams and ideas… we are in for some ice-cold water splashing to the face.
If we look back for Biblical examples of people being “called,” we don’t always (or even often) find that God called people in ways they wanted to be called or to places they wanted to go. Moses, for example, likely had leading and speaking close to last on his list of callings. So when the Lord called him to be a leader of thousands, he literally said, “Pardon your servant, Lord” (Exodus 4:10), meaning (of my own personal interpretation) “Lord, I’m kindly asking you to please excuse me from this because HA!” Not extreme enough? Let’s take Jonah. Jonah definitely had Nineveh dead last on his list of callings. We know this because he not only tried to run away from preaching there (Jonah 1:1-3), but would have rather died by being thrown overboard while he was running away than having had to deal with the consequences and the potential of being called there again (Jonah 1:12). I’m just gonna go out on a limb and say that Nineveh was not where Jonah’s “deep gladness” was.
***For anyone that isn’t a huge Bible-reader or just needs a little bit of context: If we had to compare Nineveh to something modern, it would be kind of like the B.C. version of ISIS. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria and known notoriously for brutality: gouging eyes, amputating body parts, skinning people alive, hanging the heads of conquered peoples and letting them hang to rot in courtyards, etc., etc.***
Friends, our biggest calling is the greatest commission: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”(Matthew 28:19-20). That’s it. There’s nothing in the Word that will tell you what job to choose or where to live or who to marry or what to do with your money. There’s nothing in the Word that says your calling will make your heart sing and keep you financially stable. But it tells you who all of those things should be prioritized around. The Word tells you, no matter what industry you’re in, what you’re supposed to be doing without excuses. So I say, that it gives you your calling pretty loud and clear: Go. And make disciples.
Please note: Author Bob Goff puts it this way, "What if we found out that God's big plan for our lives is that we wouldn't spend so much of our time trying to figure out a big plan for our lives? Perhaps He just wants us to love Him and love each other."