Best of Daily Reflections: God Has Called You
I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people. He made you holy by means of Christ Jesus, just as he did for all people everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.
1 Corinthians 1:2
As an ordained minister, I am sometimes asked: “When were you called into the ministry?” Or someone might say, “Tell me about your calling.” There is an assumption that because I am a “minister,” I must have a “calling.” There is nothing wrong with this assumption. Scripture teaches that God does call people to specific roles within the church (see 1 Cor. 1:1, for example, where Paul says that he was literally “called [kletos] to be an apostle”; the NLT uses “chosen” instead of “called”). So, I do believe that God has called me to be a pastor, now in the context of my ministry with Laity Lodge.
There is a problem, however, in what is often not stated when somebody says that a minister has a calling. The unspoken presumption is that only “special” people have been called by God into ministry, folks like pastors and missionaries. The vast majority of Christians, ordinary Christians, if you will, are by implication, the “uncalled.”
This view of calling misses the plain teaching of Scripture, which reveals that every single Christian has been called by God. Notice how Paul addresses the recipients of 1 Corinthians: “I am writing to God’s church in Corinth, to you who have been called by God to be his own holy people.” Those who have been called are not some subset of the believers in Corinth, but rather the whole bunch of them. Importantly, Paul uses the exact same Greek word in verse two in reference to the Corinthians being “called by God” as he used in verse one to describe his own apostolic calling (both use a form of kletos). Moreover, the last part of verse 2 explains that God has called everyone who “calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” just as he called the Corinthian Christians. Without a doubt, therefore, every Christian has a calling . . . including you!
This does not mean, however, that every Christian should become a pastor of a church. Some are called to this particular ministry; most are not. But all of us are called to be God’s people, to serve him as his ministers, doing his work in the church and the world (see Eph. 4:1-16). I live out this calling as an ordained minister, but also as a husband and father, as a church member and a neighbor, as a citizen and a friend. Similarly, you have been called to serve the Lord wherever you are: at work and at home, in your community and in the church.
May you live today as one who has a divine calling!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Do you tend to think of a calling as something that all Christians share? Or do you usually speak of calling in reference to ordained ministry? What difference might it make in your life today if you really believed that God has called you to live for him in all that you do?
PRAYER: Sovereign God, in your wisdom and authority, you call people to yourself, to know you and live in covenant relationship with you. Those whom you call into relationship you also call in to ministry, that we might live our whole lives in service to you. Thank you for your calling! Thank you for making us worthy to receive it!
Help us, dear Lord, to see ourselves as people with a calling. May we understand that we have been called into your ministry, whether or not we have been ordained into pastoral service. By your grace, may we say “yes” to your calling each day, serving you in our workplaces, among our friends, with our family, and in all that we do.
May your church, dear Lord, continue to honor the particular calling of pastors and missionaries. But may we no longer limit the scope of your calling to these crucial roles. Instead, help us to embrace the biblical understanding of calling, knowing that you have called all of us into your service.
All praise be to you, O God, because you call us to yourself and into your ministry! Amen.