Our Calling

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
Romans 8:29-30 NIVUK
“For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”
Romans 8:29-30 NLT

Paul continued to write that God called those He had chosen right from the beginning. If someone in a crowd calls out our name we look around us to see who was the caller. We immediately respond to the mention of our name. Jesus did the same to His disciples. In Mark 1:17,20 we read, “Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” … He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men”. Our calling from God is more subtle. We mostly don’t hear a voice from Heaven (not unknown but unusual) calling our name. But in more subtle ways we hear God’s voice. Through circumstances perhaps, so that we end up in a place where God has our attention. Or through an invitation, calling even, of a trusted friend. Or at a time when we had reached rock bottom and decided only God had the answer to our problems.

God also calls His people for a specific purpose. He called to Moses from a burning bush; we read the start of the account in Exodus 3: 2-4, “There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” When the Lord saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied”.
The Apostle Paul was called – he wrote in Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God”. 

History is full of people with a calling. We think of the great missionaries such as John Wesley and Jim Elliot. Men with a specific calling from God. But it’s not just history. I know of a young woman who is currently sharing the love of God with people groups in the Middle East. Jackie Pullinger and Mother Theresa are also examples of women with a special calling to do God’s work amongst the disadvantaged. The author Philip Yancy writes much about his doctor friend who turned his back on a medical career to work as a missionary doctor amongst people with leprosy.

So the inevitable question now emerges for us pilgrims. What has God called us to do? This is a personal question, and one that must be approached with care and much prayer. The question can’t be answered. by anyone else. There have been many tempted to head for the mission field in response to a rousing sermon preached by a big name evangelist. But the reality is that most of us are called by God to use the gifts He has given us in our communities and workplaces. We are “salt and light” in societies that are hostile to counter-cultural people such as us. Occasionally, of course, God will give us special assignments, like Ananias who was called to go and pray for Paul (the story is in Acts 9). But most of the time it is all about being faithful in the small things, day to day. One day our perseverance and diligence will be rewarded by our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. We will hear the “Well done, good and faithful servant”.
In the parable of the sheep and the goats, Jesus mentioned rewards for those who show kindness to others. In my meanderings around the West of Fife woodlands, I often give a cheery “Good Morning” sometimes followed by a topical greeting referring to something of local interest. In this season of my life, perhaps that is all God wants me to do. One day, there will be a positive response and the opportunity to lead someone to Jesus. We don’t know what is going on in another person’s life, but I have often wondered about how some will open up and spill out the anxieties and problems that are in the forefront of their minds. And they will then walk away, hopefully touched by the love of God.

Dear Lord Jesus. Your love for mankind knows no limits. Please lead and guide us to the right people at just the right time, so that we can communicate Your love and grace. Amen.

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