Often you will hear people talk about God’s call. But what is it? How do you know it? Perhaps you have looked in the Bible for clues, some benchmarks that will help you recognize God’s call.
Here is a question to think about. Is God’s call the same for all people? Or is it particular for each individual?
What do you think?
Could it be both?
God’s call to all people, (called the Jesus Creed by Scott McKnight) is to love God and to love our neighbors. That is God’s charge to all of us. How each of us does this, well that has more to do with God’s call to us as individuals. And it has to do with the life situations each of us finds ourselves in.
Before the Reformation, people thought that to serve God meant leaving society and the regular tasks (marriage, children, work, etc) of humans to live a life dedicated solely to God. A person was called out of regular society. One of the insights of the Reformation was the realization that people could serve God in and through their normal lives. Both Martin Luther and John Calvin affirmed that people served God where they were, in their life situations. God was served by and through the daily “stuff” of life. They were both quite certain that no matter what your life situation, you could and should live to serve God.
Of course the reformers, like everyone else of their time, thought that God placed people in particular life stations. They believed you were born in the “station” God wanted you to be in. Serfs were serfs, merchants were merchants, kings were kings all because that was where God wanted them.
That is not, of course, how we understand things today. Today society is much more fluid and in some ways having the ability to choose can make things more stressful. How do we know what God wants us to do? What if we get it wrong?
We will talk more about the specifics of how we know and offer some suggestions about what to do in the next post. Today I end with a couple of things.
God is well aware of our limits to understand God’s will. If you have read much of the Bible at all, you probably have noticed God’s ability to improvise and to work with extremely fallible humans. So let that be a comfort to you. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give serious thought to your career. I am saying, make your best choice and trust that God will be there, all along the way to help and guide you.
Secondly, you don’t have to figure this out all by yourself. Most likely you are surrounded by people and resources that can help you. That seems to be how this works. The reformers believed that the variety of jobs and careers that people did, and those very people themselves, were the way God cared for us. Remember that general calling for all Christians – to love God and to love our neighbor- for some of us, the call to love our neighbor means we help people figure out suitable careers.
What do you think?
One very helpful book, short, is Quentin Schultze’s Here I Am: Now What on Earth Should I Be Doing? True North usually facilitates a group that reads and discusses this book each year. If you would like to be notified of the next discussion group, please let us know. We would love to have you join us.