What are you called to do?

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Yesterday I participated in a conference call of religious figures from around the country who wanted to do discuss information and action possibilities regarding the tragic situation in Darfur, which once again has taken a turn for the worse recently. I don’t know an incredible amount about Darfur, but I’ve been stirred and want to know more. 

As the participants discussed the issues, I found myself pondering the question of calling. Commonly we talk about being called to do this or do that. Usually, we talk about being called to serve a church as a pastor or minister. Some say they’re called to be a teacher, plumber or other profession. No doubt, some of the people on the line yesterday would say they are called to help the people of Darfur.

When asked about her calling, a friend of mine simply says she’s called to serve. She’s the only person I’ve ever heard answer this way. Frankly, I’m not sure what to do with what she told me, and it’s been at least a year since she told me that.

Help me think out loud. Responding to God’s call upon our lives seems to me to be key in exercising our faith. What do you think it means to be called? Are you called to a task, action or something else?

What are you called to do?

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3 Responses to “What are you called to do?”

  1. Royce Rose Says:

    I work with professionals on our universities campus who specialize in helping students struggle with the issue of God’s call. They lead students to try to clarify the call of God on their life.

    Our churches support students in our schools who have given evidence that God is calling them to a church related vocational ministry. I guess this in itself, indicates our affirmation that God’s call is at least specific enough to lead a person down a route to a church-related or non-church-related ministry.

    Underlying this, theologically or phylisophically, is that everyone who has chosen Christ as Lord has been given gifts and has been called to ministry. Sometimes this ministry is in the church as a vocational minister, sometimes the ministry is to serve in the church as a volunteer; but for most, it is a ministry to live out one’s calling, one’s vocation as a servant of God.

    That makes it important for all believers to struggle with their call. To decide how God wants them to contribute to the world they live in and the Kingdom of God.

  2. Julie O'Teter Says:

    I think the concept of a “calling” is very broad, yet many have made it narrow. I also think it is a subjective and personal issue, yet many have judged others unfairly, when it’s really none of their business. In my opinion, a calling may be to DO something (change careers, go back to school, leave or start a relationship, move to the country, have a child) or to BE something (more creative, less judgmental, more loving). You may be called away or to something, called to change or renew your commitment to something, or called to return to a place or pursuit in an entirely new way.

    To me, the subject of “a calling” brings up many questions: How do we recognize it? How do we distinguish it from our own desires? How do we handle our resistance to a call? What happens when we say no? What happens when we say yes?

    Whether one’s calling is personal or professional or spiritual in nature, and whether the callings one hears are loud trumpets or the more common, daily “nudgings,” we should celebrate those and encourage others to pay attention to theirs.

  3. Dennis Horton Says:

    From what I’ve read and researched on this topic, there are three basic approaches to understanding the way that God provides guidance or calls us.

    The first is approach is to strive to be in the “center of God’s will” by seeking God’s specific guidance and answers for decisions and then seeking confirmation. The goal is to stay at the center of God’s perfect will, to hit the bull’s-eye of God’s will. Even when a person is faced with two equally good choices, it is believed that only one of these choices is truly within God’s will.

    The second approach is a more general one, the biblical wisdom approach. Those who follow this school of thought emphasize following the basic principles of the Bible and our God-given reasoning capacity to make strategic decisions. The garden of Eden would be a good analogy for this school of thought: God provides some basic commands and prohibitions and leaves us alone to work it out.

    A third approach is somewhere between the first two. This one, the relationship-formation approach, emphasizes that we take on more responsibility for our decisions as we grow in Christian maturity. Nevertheless, God continues to interact with us and provides some direction, but the path is seen as more of a broad one rather than a highly detailed plan. The analogy here is that of a shepherd interacting with the sheep.

    Dallas Willard prefers the third approach over the biblical wisdom approach which he claims to be a form of biblical deism. The relationship-formation approach is also popular among many emergent Christian leaders.

    God seems to be able to work through each of these approaches to discernment, but the third approach honors both God’s direction in our lives as well as our responsibility in the decision-making process.

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