What is the “call of God” all about? We hear that term thrown around in Christendom and often it refers to a particular task, a particular job or a particular position in ministry. This could be the case and I certainly won’t presume to know all the answers regarding this matter. Feeling “called” and trying to identify exactly what that means has been one of the most difficult parts of my Christian experience in recent years. But I do know it has become increasingly clear in my own life that the call of God has more to do with who I am and Who I know than it does with anything else—at least that is where it all begins.
It’s the whole cart and the horse thing, really. Too often I find that my initial focus in the Christian life is on what I say and what I profess with my mouth to believe. I try to say the right things to the right people. I try to talk the talk. It’s as if I think that if I can just mentally ascend to the right things, and verbalize them in the right way, then all will be as it should. Then, once I am finally saying the right things (more or less), I start to focus on what I do. It becomes a matter of doing the right things, not doing the wrong things, etc. And invariably this culminates with the idea that if I can just find my calling, that one thing that I am uniquely equipped by God to do, then everything really will be as it should be.
Now when it comes to finding the task or special work that I must be called to, how do we typically identify it? By those things I appear to be skilled at of course! What is my unique skill set, what is my gift? Find this and you have found your call, right? Maybe. But the problem is that many people are skilled to do many things that do very little to help build the Kingdom. And there is this nagging realization that throughout the bible God routinely uses those who have absolutely no apparent, natural gifting to do what it is they end up doing for God. In our strengths, God shows Himself strong is how He puts it right? Oh no, wait, it is quite the opposite. In our weaknesses, God shows Himself strong. What a paradox.
Somewhere along the line you may find that you are finally saying all the right things and as far as you can tell you are doing all the right things too…but something still doesn’t feel quite right. And you aren’t where you think you should be either. You still haven’t found any peace in your “calling.” You cry out to God for answers and He starts to show you things that surprise you. He peels back the veil and shows you what and who you really are. All of a sudden you are identifying way too much with the Pharisees.
You read the end of the Sermon on the Mount and you begin to comprehend that there will be lots of people at the end of time who will have said all the right things and who will have done all the right things as far as anyone around them can tell. I mean they do really big and important stuff. They are skilled to the point of being able to prophesy and cast out demons and perform miracles. But Jesus will cast them aside because He never knew them. And then you see it: you are called to know God and be in relationship with Him, yet somehow in the midst of all the profession and confession, all the going and doing, you have failed to really know Him.
God created man and woman for one reason: to be in relationship with Him. God sent His Son to die on a cross for only one reason: so that by believing on Christ we might have a means to be made right again in relationship with Him, so that we may live in eternity with Him, to be in relationship with Him. How could we have missed this truth? Why did it take me so long to figure this out? Finally it sinks in. Who I know and who I am is more important than what I do; and what I do is more important than what I say. That is the proper order of things. And my calling is to know God and be in a right relationship with Him. All else flows out of this.