Do you have a calling?
Do you have a calling? ‘Calling’ is a term we usually connect to tasks like being called to the ministry, or to teaching children, or working on the mission field.
And if you don’t have a calling like this, we think, then maybe your work is less significant. Everyone else just has a career: a full-time and permanent position doing a particular task. A career is something that you have, but a calling is something that you are. And it is what you are, for life.
It is interesting that the Bible rarely speaks of calling in the sense that we use it, in relation to certain jobs in church or kingdom. In Scripture, ‘calling’ is almost always simply the calling of the gospel, the calling to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and to serve him where you are. And that is a calling for everyone.
God calls you. He calls you with his Word. God calls you through your baptism. He calls you every Lord’s day in the preaching. If you’re listening for it, Christ keeps calling. He calls you to trust in him and to obey him through sacrifice and service.
Take 2 Thessalonians 1, for example, where Paul says, “Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith with power” (v. 11). Paul here urges believers to be worthy of their heavenly calling. It is the calling of doing God’s good pleasure, carrying out his work in faith and strength.
And for what purpose? In the next verse Paul explains our reason for living:
That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him.
That is the grand purpose of life—it is our calling—to glorify God in the particular place He has put us, to serve him with his gifts.
You’re a mother working in the home. You’re a student at university or college. You’re a business owner, an accountant, an electrician. You’re a neighbour. You’re father, a son, a daughter, and grandparent. You’re an elder or a deacon. God has assigned you a place. It is exactly here that you must ‘walk worthy of his calling.’
We don’t need to dream of doing great things for God in some exotic place and grandiose way. We can do them where we are today. By being faithful even in the small things, you will show that you belong to the Lord Jesus, and that your purpose is always to do his will. Our career might well change. Circumstances in the home, or our health, or this country will probably change. But this remains the same: we are called by God to do his will, to his glory, on this day.
We can add a bit of colour to this by speaking of the notion of office. In Lord’s Day 12 of the Heidelberg Catechism, we learn about the three-fold office of Christ, and the three-fold office of Christians. If you belong to Christ, then you share in his work as king, and prophet, and priest.
In the Old Testament, it was very rare for one person to have more than one office. If you were a priest, that was more than enough work. Or if you were a prophet, that activity would probably consume your life. So it is amazing that God entrusts us with this triple task: speaking of his name to others, presenting ourselves to God in worship, fighting against the power of the evil one wherever he encroaches.
An assignment this big isn’t just a job. It’s an entire life and a complete identity. It means that we get to be totally occupied with doing God’s will. It means that wherever we are, in whatever relationships God has put us, we can be focused on glorifying the name of Christ. That is your office and calling.
We don’t have many resources in ourselves. We’re not very strong, not very smart, not very faithful. But we rest in God, for He enables, strengthens, and guides us. Praying for help to carry out his will, the Lord will surely answer us.
Let the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:24 comfort and inspire you for service today,
The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.