1 I therefore, m a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to n walk in a manner worthy of o the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all p humility and q gentleness, with r patience, s bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in t the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
If you’ve attended church you’ve probably heard someone talk about their calling. Usually it refers to something they do like… I’m called to work as a pastor or I’m called to serve with the youth. Funny… I never hear people say they are called to take out the trash. Even in the secular world the word calling is used to refer to a task or job. But the New Testament view of calling has nothing to do with a job, a task, a position or an occupation. Rather, the New Testament view of calling has to do with friendship with God.
There are two words that are translated calling or called. The first word that is translated calling means to accept the divine invitation to friendship with God. It has nothing to do with doing and everything to do with being. When I accept God’s invitation to friendship, I become a new creation, old things are passed away, all things are new and now I am His friend. That is the New Testament view of calling… it has to do with being a friend of God.
The second word that is translated called means that this divine invitation is personal. God doesn’t send out an e-blast addressed to whomever it concerns. He sends out a personal invitation with your name on it. God wants to be friends with YOU. That’s why Paul writes… with all humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with each other in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace. That’s the friendship God has with us and thus He wants us to extend the same friendship to each other in the Body of Christ.
So if I’m not “called” to a job, how does that work? It’s simple. Everything we do in the Body of Christ is governed by a two step process. Listen And Obey. I go to God, listen to what He has to say and then I Obey what He tells me to do. If you go to God and God says, go help that guy in the youth ministry. Then you simply obey what God tells you to do. But what if the guy doesn’t want my help? Then you go back to God and you put it back on him… God he doesn’t want me to help, what do I do now? What if God is telling me to start something? Then make sure it’s God by submitting yourself to leadership and seeking their counsel as to how to practically work it out in your immediate context. The Bible calls this being mutually submitted one to another. Simple. What if they say no? Then go back to God and put it back on him… see how it works?
I believe most of the problems we have in church comes down to a misunderstanding of calling. We feel called to a job and thus we defend our “calling” as if our life depended on it. A job is not a calling… your calling is to friendship with God. Whatever comes out of that friendship is a matter of obedience.