In part one we looked at eight things that are NOT God’s calling to service. But what comprises a call to service? While this discussion will be far from exhaustive I do pray that it helps you get a better picture on what God may have in mind for you.
(A personal note, I had dreams of what I thought the Lord had in mind for me. But my ideas of calling were dashed and my grandiose dreams fell to the wayside. A misunderstanding of calling can bring disenchantment if one is not willing to listen. So I would appeal to you to study the subject more fully than this brief post covers so that your service to the Lord is as rich as He intends.)
When was Moses called? At the burning bush? Perhaps, in a sense. That’s when he had his face-to-face encounter with God. But before that — when he saw grace extended to him after leaving Egypt? Or when he saw injustice in Egypt?
To be certain the calling of Moses was a cumulative case matter. He was moved by the need when he saw his Hebrew brothers being abused and his message to Pharaoh reflected that — “Let my people go!” His service to God was wrapped around his service to the community of God’s people.
We might consider his encounter on the road to Damascus as the seminal moment of his calling. But there are really two things going on there. The primary thing is his redemption. But the Lord coupled that with a calling to join in with those he was kicking around. (Acts 9:4-6)
There is a sense, and important one, where his calling strongly resembles that of Moses. Both were in elite positions and their calling made them a part of the persecuted community of believers. And like Moses this calling was not limited to community participation but to community expansion. Moses would lead the people to an open place to grow as a people (that doesn’t happen in a slave community, and in fact was a worry of the Egyptians) and Paul would expand the church to the gentile world. The church would find the whole earth as its land, a ministry without geographic limitations.
Paul was called directly by Jesus. He was also sent by the church in Antioch (Acts 13). Paul did not defy the church. He also did not operate independent of it. He coordinated with Peter on the priority of meeting the needs of the poor. There was also coordination, though filled with disagreement, on the relationship between gentiles in the fellowship and Jews in the fellowship. They worked out the theology not by one doing the dictating but by looking at the Word and the work of Christ. (Galatians 2, Acts 15:15-17)
Other Places of Service
In Ephesians 4:11 we have a list of positions of calling. These places may be considered offices. But they are first considered work. They have a job — “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” In other words, they are not the ones doing the ministry work. They are preparing the body to do the work. They are doing both teaching and training. They are preparing their replacements and preparing people to go out to new locations to do the same.
As brief as this has been it seems consistent in the Word that calling is always happening in the context of the body of believers. It is built less (if at all) around office and always around a job to be done. It is commonly about suffering.
As you seek what may be what we often call “God’s will for your life,” just be patient and keep going forward. Listen to your local church leadership. A job that needs done may well be God’s sending you to a ministry, whether full-time or as regular service for the building of believers in the local church.