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Location: Huaraz, Ancash, Peru

Having mastered the University of Montana's IYFD program, I journeyed to Peru with the US Peace Corps. Currently, I'm discovering Peru while living in the gorgeous Andes mountains in beautiful Ancash. Come visit!

Friday, May 13, 2005

God's Calling

Here's something to think about from Jon Ball InterVarsity staff in Greater Los Angeles.

"Is calling a biblical concept? Moses and David were not called by God to be shepherds, Jesus received no call to be a carpenter, nor Peter to be a fisherman, nor Paul to be a tentmaker. The Bible primarily uses 'calling' to refer to God calling us to himself, as Jesus did when he said, 'Follow me.' Mark continues, ' And immediately he called them; and they...followed him' (Mark 1:16-20)."

And to think all these years I thought discerning God's calling on my life meant where my career should take me. It's interesting to discover that "calling" really only has to do with God's call on our ministry-active lives.

I had an interesting discussion with my father the other day. He said he needed to get back into golfing because he didn't know what else he would do when he retired. I sweetly and demurely said, "ministry." I didn't get the response I expected. My dad looked like he swallowed a bitter spoon of peanut butter. Because he's my father, 6'2 and intimidating (former football linebacker), I didn't push the subject, but it left me a little unsure. I think my father thought that I meant he should go to seminary and become a Pastor, which of course, was not what I meant in the least. By ministry I mean that thing which God calls all of us to in different ways during different seasons. In truth, my father should have some form of ministry now. As should we all. Everyone has a ministry. It can change (and probably will), but ministry never ceases. Whether it's "big" (foreign mission field, Pastoral, etc.) or "small" (Sunday School teaching, prayer phone tree liaison, etc.) it's valuable to the body of believers. And God wants us to be a part of it.

Ball continues, "occasionally a calling is an assignment: Abraham was called not to a job, but to a place; or more specifically, to the task of leaving his home and going to a place God would show him (Genesis 12:1). Paul was chosen to preach to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16). A few of us may receive a specific "calling," like Paul, but that often has little bearing on choosing a job, a spouse, or a church. However, we're all called to be disciples of Jesus, which means learning from him and obeying him wherever we find ourselves in life."

Often we think calling has to do with how we are going to make our money. What are we going to do with the rest of our lives, and so on. Why do we box God in like that? He wants us for himself, not that we don't do evangelism and ministry type of work in our day-to-day business and money making jobs, but there are so many opportunities to directly serve him at the church, parachurch, and missions levels. It's not that I think God doesn't care about where we work, on the contrary, we are to be salt and light wherever God has placed us (Matthew 5:13-16) and that is an act of "following him." Yet, we are also called into service for him. We are called to serve the church (think all followers of Christ as the church in this context). If we don't take care of each other, what do others care about being a part of God's family.

So as we continue to listen to God (read: I continue to listen to God) maybe we shouldn't be looking for some kind of cosmic career head hunter, but more for someone who wants to draw us closer to himself and to serve him in all the capacities he desires of us. That's a pretty cool calling.


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