What does it mean to follow God’s call? I have struggled with that question for a very long time now and I am still not sure that I am following in the way God needs me to follow. A good friend of mine says that he knew he was going to be a pastor as a child. He knew at this young age that spreading God’s grace was what he wanted to do with his life. He followed his calling into seminary and into full ordination. My own journey has not been as smooth.
I heard the calling as a child while listening to a hard line fire and brimstone preacher who was quite exclusionary in his thinking of who would be allowed to enter the Kingdom of God. I knew after knowing him that I wanted to spread the good news in a way that was accessible to everyone. But like so many others I know I buried that calling and manage to pretend it didn’t exist for many years. Fortunately God has a way of calling us back to where we belong and I am here following that calling again. It is so easy to let life get in the way of spreading the good news. Things like mortgages and jobs, meetings and committees, kids and family, illness and tragedy, all have a way of taking over our day to day existence.
My calling may involve ministry from the pulpit or the classroom, what does your call involve? Is it a call to healing ministry, being a caregiver or someone who has the gift of pastoral prayer? Is it a call to service or hospitality? Evangelism and outreach or welcoming are others. As the Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12:4-13 “There are different kinds of gifts (or callings), but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
Parenthesis in quote added by author.by