by Madelynn Keselburg on September 20, 2023
If you have been around the Church, you might have heard, “I felt called,” “What is your calling?” or “Where are you called to?” In my personal life, I grew up hearing these phrases and felt so much pressure to have a crazy answer like, “I am called to be a missionary in the Amazon among violent tribes and BIG spiders.” I concluded at a pretty young age that because I did not have an answer or “felt called,” I must not be called at all.
In the article “Defining the Call of God,” Joe Holland says, “So, where do we start if we want to form a biblical understanding of the different ways that the Bible speaks about the call of God? We often start in the wrong place, thinking about our specific context, our lives, our situation. Instead, we should begin with God and His call.” What is the call of God? 2 Timothy 1:8-9 states:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”
His purpose since the beginning is reconciling the fallen world back to Himself through Jesus Christ. This calling drives the Church, fuels world missions, and is extended to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ (John 6:29). And the crazy thing is, God loves and trusts us enough to call us into His purpose.
My mind runs to all the times in the Bible when God called upon someone. God can specifically call us, whether it be Samuel in the temple (1 Samuel 3:4) or Moses when he saw a burning bush (Exodus 3:4). God sometimes is just looking for someone who is willing, as seen in Isaiah 6:8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Or the time Jesus called upon the disciples in Matthew 4:19: “And he said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” There are countless times when God calls us, and although different, they are all for a purpose. God’s purpose. God has created each and every one of us with specific gifts, talents, and experiences. In 1 Corinthians 12:12 it says, “There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ.” We are the body of Christ, and we each have a responsibility to play our part. From being a pastor, a doctor, or a barista, we are all living and breathing representations of Christ making a Kingdom impact by loving God & loving others. (Luke 10:27).
I am thankful for God’s grace and patience because in time, He redefined what calling meant to me. As Joe Holland stated, I limited God’s calling to my life and my current circumstances. But it is far more than just where I work or where I go, but rather, an invitation to participate in God’s global purpose of reconciliation and redemption. Pastor Jeff Lucas uses the example of viewing calling like a tightrope. If we make one wrong move, we could miss our calling. But he says calling is an open field where God allows us to enjoy and run about. The truth is, we are ALL called to redemption through the blood of Jesus and invited into sharing that Good News right now. (Mathew 28:18-20)
In Ephesians 4:1, Paul says:
“I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
To obey the calling we all have received starts with extraordinary willingness. Moses, Samuel, Isaiah, the Disciples, and many more started by saying yes, here I am. Calling could look like God specifically inviting you, a whisper you hear, a deep knowing and peace, or you are intentionally pursuing the heart of God and loving others every day. Do not limit the infinite God. Trust in His character. He loves us, knows us, and wants us to be a part of His global purpose in our own unique and special way.
“Defining the Call of God.” Tabletalk, 17 Dec. 2019, tabletalkmagazine.com/article/2020/01/defining-the-call-of-god/.
“Obedience to God in Our Calling” Ministry School 15 July 2014, https://www.christianleadersinstitute.org/obedience-to-god-in-our-calling/