I often see, hear and read odd behaviour within Christian circles. One such oddity is that of Christians who fast, pray and intercede to God, asking him to reveal his calling to them. Sometimes they pray, fast and seek God, telling him to grant them a international ministry of some kind.
I find this behaviour an oddity, because the actions betray a mindset that doesn’t really understand God’s character and nature. Now don’t get me wrong. I am not talking about our praying for wisdom as how we should move forward. I am not talking about the times we ask God about which direction in life we should choose, if we are faced with a multiple of directions. Instead, what I am talking about is how we come to God with the mindset that somehow we have to force our calling out of him, or the reverse, we have to tell him what we want our calling to be. But God is not reluctant to share with us what our calling is. We don’t have to manipulate him, say a mantra, fast and kind of beat it out of him. For he is a personal God, who is more than willing to share with us, his plans and purposes for us, as they unfold.
God calls us in two major ways. The first is to the walk of obedience. An obedience that shows forth the fruit of the Spirit. An obedience of love towards God and towards the humanity around us. A walk of obedience that truly allows God to be God of all we do, say and think.
The second area of calling, is our vocational calling. Our vocational calling is where God places us in every sphere of life. Starting from the day we are born, our vocational calling is found within our sphere of influence. At first our calling is to be nurtured by our parents. From the breast, to school, towards the age of adulthood, where the circle of life continues to the stage where those babes, become the parents nurturing the next generation of babies.
Within this framework of vocation, God reveals his plans and purposes to us through the abilities, talents, desires and gifts that he has given us. He reveals his plans to us through the circumstances of life. His calling is further revealed through the counsel of the wise. And God can also reveal his calling to us through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Within this context, God will call his people to inhabit and minister within every sphere of life. Mechanics. Teachers. Students. Nurses. Government. Students. Parenthood. Agriculture. And he may even call his people to become ministers / pastors within the church sense. Within God’s economy, there is no difference between the call for some to be a cleaner and some to be a pastor. Some to be a welder and some to be a missionary. Both are called by God, both callings are valid callings within the framework of his kingdom.
The vocational call of the pastor, is that of encouraging and building up the congregation to believe in God, to be people of prayer and to be equipped to fulfil and know God’s plans for their lives within the context of the community in which the congregation spends their lives. For God called Abraham to go, and he went as a shepherd. He called Noah to go forth, as a boat builder. He called Daniel as a state politician. He called David to be a shepherd. He called some to leave their nets and become his Apostles. Others, he told to go home, go back to their occupation and communities and fulfil the great commission within the context of where they are placed.
For the Christian accountant is called to be a redeemer, reconciler and partake in Gods recreation, through the way he lives a obedient life within the framework of all he / she does. An office worker can be a bringer of life, by refusing to partake in office gossip. The labourer can be an agent of redemption through refusing to bag out the boss. The manager can be a change maker by treating all with the dignity and respect that all deserve, having been made in the image of God. And so the God, who works through us, over us and within us – will bring to fruition his plans and purposes for us, as we continue to walk with him, living as we ought.