A Calling not an Occupation
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10 NASB
We can all agree that God knows us.
He knows us very well.
Better than we know ourselves.
And because He knows us so well, He knows what we are capable of.
He knows what we can do in His might, in His strength.
God knows what He can accomplish through us.
A calling, not an occupation
An occupation can be a way of passing time, something that is not done intentionally.A n office can be a function, something you do for a period of time. A career can be something you chose for yourself. We can all agree that God knows us, that He knows us very well, even better than we know ourselves.Therefore, because He knows us so well, He knows what we are capable of. He knows what we can do in His might, in His strength. God knows what He can accomplish through us.
On this post I would like to talk to you about a calling.
not an office
not an occupation
not a career
not what you do for a living
but rather what you live to do.
God wants to work in me and through me
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.
8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.
16 You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.
John 15:5, 8, 16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Satan wants to diminish and destroy
Satan wants to diminish and ultimately destroy what God is working for me, in me and through me. Satan wants us to be all alone because he knows that apart from God we can do nothing.
The more Satan can distract us from the reality of God, the more power he has over us, the more likely he is to succeed. Satan just needs to keep us from realizing what God is doing and is willing to do for, in, and through us.
Choose your identity
Ultimately, when I look at myself in the mirror, when I lay down at night to sleep when I wake up in the morning, I will accept and embrace one of two identities. I will either accept God’s identity for my life, that is who I am in Jesus and in light of God’s power and plans for my life. Or Satan’s identity of me, which is me all by myself, completely dependent on my human abilities.
A natural tendency
We all have a natural tendency to avoid, minimize or deny God’s calling into ministry as we focus on ourselves, our faults, our weaknesses, and fears. We make ministry about us instead of who God is and what God wants to do through us.
Think about when God called Moses. Exodus 3
God speaks to Moses from a burning bush. Moses removes his sandals and acknowledges the place to be holy ground. But when God sends him to Pharaoh to bring God’s people, the children of Israel out of Egypt, Moses second-guesses God. (Exodus 3:10)
It’s like Moses thinks that God made a mistake and asked the wrong person, or that God does not really know him, or that God could not possibly use him in a mighty way to deliver others (His people) from oppression. Moses, maybe thinking he was being humble, was actually rejecting God’s calling. He was rebelling against God’s will for his life. Perhaps Moses thought he knew better than God?
In Exodus 4:10 Moses tells God that he is not eloquent, Moses bewails how he is slow of speech and slow of tongue, to which God replies in Exodus 4:11 "Who has made man’s mouth?" Do we really think that God is limited by our weaknesses and imperfections? Do you really think that there is something about you that can keep God from using you in a mighty way for His honor and glory?
Look to Jesus
When we look at ourselves things look substandard at best, therefore let us develop a habit of shifting our focus to God. We know God wants to save people, Jesus came and died for us after all, He would not have done that unless He was serious about saving us. So why not take a moment right now and ask God about His plans for our lives?
Right now, try it, close your eyes and pray asking God who He wants you to minister to. What kind of ministry is God calling you to? Ask God to not only show you but also make you willing to do it.
A calling cannot be revealed by a quiz, it only becomes clearer as we walk with the Lord. As we invite Him into our hearts and follow His leading. Only as we come closer to God and follow His leading can we begin to identify our calling. It takes practice, and you can begin today.
As we walk with the LORD we must ask ourselves,
- what are my unique burdens?
- what are my unique dreams?
- what causes me to weep?
- what causes me to sing?
Disregard what you do for a living for a brief moment, and think about what you live for.
What gives meaning to your life?
What do you look forward to?
What do you enjoy investing into?
How can you do that for the honor and glory of God?
What is God calling you to do?
What ministry is He calling you to?
Ideal Team Player
Now here is the thing about ministry, ministry is not to be done alone, no lone rangers.
Jesus had the 12 disciples (Luke 6:12-16), not only that Jesus sent out his followers (72) two by two (Luke 10). Following Jesus' example, we see the importance of having at least one partner when doing ministry.
Ministry is a team sport.
Patrick Lencioni is an American author who writes about business management, particularly in relation to team management, and he has identified three characteristics that he believes makes the ideal team player.
it is not about us, it is all about God.
Humility comes first because it is “the single greatest and most indispensable attribute of being a team player.” Humble team players are not “overtly arrogant,” of course, but they do not “lack self-confidence” either. It has been said that “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” Lencioni adds, "Humility makes collective action possible. Without it, teams don’t work effectively, because each member is either out for themselves (due to overt arrogance) or unable to propose solutions (because of lack of self-confidence)." (Source)
Being hungry is about being self-motivated and diligent, looking for more and doing a job well. Going above and beyond takes place when someone is hungry. “Hungry people are always looking for more,” writes Lencioni. They are “self-motivated and diligent.” For a team to work effectively, each team member must proactively contribute to the overall effort. No slackers are allowed. (source, source)
Smart here is not necessarily describing intellectual capacity. Smart, in this case, is more similar to emotional intelligence. Lencioni defines it as “a person’s common sense about people…the ability to be interpersonally appropriate and aware.” Ideal team members are people-smart. (source)
What's your story?
Your calling will be closely related to what God is doing in your life. Take a moment to think, what has God been doing in your life?
Think of it as a journey, where were you when God reached you, and where has He brought you so far?
- Where were you when you met the Lord?
- Where are you today?
- What has changed?
- What do you see God doing in your life?
Take time to ponder these questions.
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
Ephesians 2:4-10New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Self-centered view of ministry
Making my calling into ministry about me and my need to be seen, to be heard, to be important, to be in control, etc.
God-centered view of ministry
God making my calling into ministry about God and His grace working for me, in me and through me.
Because of God
But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me—and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.
- 1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT
A heart matter
What is in my heart? What am I passionate about and makes me come alive when I think about being part of a larger story, accepting my calling into my ministry in my community?
Experiences - What are the positive and negative experiences in my life where God is “working all things together for good” (Romans 8:28-29) as I allow Him to shape me more closely to His Son Jesus Christ and He heals me and sets me free to receive my calling into ministry in my community. What is my testimony?
Attitude - What is my attitude towards both my positive and negative experiences and the biblical teachings about God’s plan and calling for my life? Am I hopeful or hopeless, do I experience joy in the LORD or doubt? Faith or fear? Do I believe in God and His love and mercy or do I just look at myself and my failures and shortcomings?
Resources - What resources will I need to move into ministry in my community?
Team Members - Who are the team members I need to support me as a disciple of Christ moving into ministry in my community? Are they humble, hungry, and smart? Am I a good team player, humble hungry and smart?
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV