Direct, Unmistakable Call to Particular Work
With the understanding that the ultimate image of calling in the Bible is the calling to follow Jesus, we are ready to explore callings to particular kinds of work. If by “calling,” we mean a direct, unmistakable command from God to take up a particular task, job, profession or type of work, then calling is very rare in the Bible. No more than a hundred or so people were called by God in this sense. God called Noah to build the ark. God called Moses and Aaron to their tasks (Exodus 3:4, 28:1). He called prophets such as Samuel (1 Samuel 3:10), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-5), Amos (Amos 7:15) and others. He called Abram and Sarah and a few others to undertake journeys or to relocate (which might be taken as a kind of workplace calling). He placed people in political leadership including Joseph, Gideon, Saul, David and David’s descendants. God chose Bezalel and Oholiab as chief craftsmen for the tabernacle (Exodus 31:1-6). Jesus called the apostles and some other of his disciples (e.g., Mark 3:14-19), and the Holy Spirit called Barnabas and Saul to be missionaries (Acts 13:2). The word “call” is not always used, but the unmistakable direction of God for a particular person to do a particular job is clear in these cases.
Aside from these examples, very few people in the Bible received an individual call to a particular kind of work from God. This strongly suggests that a direct calling from God to particular work is also rare today. If God is calling you directly and unmistakably to particular work, you don’t need guidance from an article such as this, except perhaps for the affirmation that, yes, this type of calling does occur in the Bible in rare instances. Therefore, we will not discuss direct, unmistakable, personal calling further, but will instead focus on whether God guides or leads people to particular types of work through less dramatic means.