Aug 11, 2015

What is a Calling?

The other day, my wife asked me, out of the blue, if I want to be a Pastor. To be honest, I’ve forgotten how I responded. But I can clearly recall how she said in a slightly concerned tone (I thought she was more of annoyed), “Bakit kapag nagtatanong ako ng ganito sayo parang sobrang burdened ka. Parang walang excitement.”

(Why is it that when I ask you this, you look so burdened? You look so unexcited.)

That’s what you get for trying to sound intelligent when you could have settled with the truth that, you don’t know.

After praying about the topic, mulling over it and 249 pages of the book entitled, “The Call” by Os Guiness, I’ve come up with a simple answer that I hope would help you if you’re kind of being bugged by the following questions:

Am I called to something - a certain profession, role or industry?
Am I called to go somewhere?
Am I called to be with someone?

And other questions like:

Am I called to find a new job because I feel like God is not glorified where I’m at?
Am I called to invest in stocks?
Am I called to be the President of the Philippines?

Here’s my simple answer:

First, suppose you’re at home and your dad calls you. Stop right there. That’s basically what calling is - someone calls you.

Second, the instinctive reaction when he calls you is for you to go near him.  

Therefore, calling is primarily and essentially these two things – to be called by God and to go near Him.

As you spend time with Him every day, as you enjoy Him, as you talk to Him in prayer and as you listen to Him through His word, you will inevitably feel His heart, you will know His ways and you will desire to join Him in His work.

God is always at work and the more intimate you and God become, the stronger the urge to join Him will grow and the harder it will be to resist.

But remember, calling is first to be called by God and to enjoy His company. The desire to do things for Him always comes as a result of your enjoyment of Him.

In simpler terms, calling is to be called by God to go near Him, to enjoy Him and to join Him in His work.

In much simpler terms, calling is to be called by Him, to Him and for Him.

Relating to the last part - “for Him” - sometimes, God may set you apart for a specific work like –

If you’re a virgin and pregnant,
If you happen to hear a burning bush call your name, or
If you’re on horseback, on your way to the next city to kill Christians and a blinding light suddenly stops you and a voice starts calling your name,

God has definitely chosen you for a very specific mission.

But for the rest of us, I may be wrong but I believe that God gives us the freedom to choose which work to join Him in with the understanding that we are to enjoy him while doing so. 

Now, if you’re praying to join Him in a particular cause, I also believe that He will give you the freedom to do so provided that: 

      1)      He has given you gifts – the necessary skillset – required to do the job well.
      2)      You enjoy it because you’re doing it with God and for Him and not to please other people.
      3)      It doesn’t replace Him in your heart as the source of your identity, purpose and fulfillment.
      4)      You don’t do it out of envy of other people.
      5)      You don’t do it at the expense of your other important roles and responsibilities.
      6)      You don’t care about what your title will be or what reward you will get as long as you get to do your function.
      7)      You remain grateful to Him. It’s all by His grace and kindness that you’re even able to join Him.

So are you called to do something, go someplace or be with someone? Are you called to be the President of the Philippines?

My answer is - you may aspire to but please just stop using the word calling. It has such permanence attached to it. It’s irrevocable. Don't associate it with things that you know won't last. And I think God is more concerned with your relationship with Him than you doing great things for Him.

Besides, if you are a child of God who cleans public toilets for a living, doing it with all of your heart for Him with a big smile on your face, you are giving God so much glory, joy and a much bigger smile than if you’ve gotten an impressive title that has consumed you and has replaced God in your heart.  

Whatever you and God are doing together, your only calling is to stay near Him and enjoy Him.  


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