Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Confusing Language of "Calling"

a helpful post from the

It is common Christian parlance to say, "I feel called to do so and so." What we're usually trying to communicate is that we feel God has given us a specific "missional" assignment in his kingdom. I wonder, however, if that language is misleading and harmful.

Our Call Has Already Been Issued

Christians don't need to be specially "called" to live missionally; it is inherent in being a disciple. To become a disciple of Jesus means that you evaluate your passions and talents in terms of how they can best be used to spread God's kingdom. The call has already been issued: "Glorify me in all that you do. Love and serve your neighbor. Go into the world and preach the gospel to every person." That's it.

Each person must evaluate how they have best been suited to fulfill that call, but the call is clear. If you are a businessman, you are to do excellent work to the glory of God, to the benefit of humanity, and to the testimony of Christ in your community. You don't have to wait on a special call to begin to do so—you've already received that call as a Christian. We talk about finding God's will; it's not lost.

Specific Directions in Active Participation

I know that sometimes God gives specific directions. God tells Paul in Acts 16:8 to go specifically to Macedonia, but those "course corrections" were given in the context of Paul's active participation in God's mission. The Holy Spirit tells the church at Antioch to set apart Barnabas and Saul for a church planting mission (Acts 13), but both Barnabas and Saul were already active in preaching and serving.

I say this because we have so many people sitting around waiting on a warm, fuzzy, and goose-bump-inducing vision from God before they embark on some ministry. Maybe we've invented the whole language of calling to mask the fact that most Christians don't want to live missionally.

To be continued.

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