When You Hear the Call, You’d Better Get Going

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Ephesians 4:

It must have happened a thousand times during my childhood. I'd be out playing with my friends in the early evening when I'd hear my mother calling: "Mark, dinner! Come home right now!" Sometimes, when I heard that call, I was hungry and happily left my friends to enjoy my mom's great cooking. But there were many other times when I would much rather have finished a game of football, baseball, or whatever my chums and I were playing. Upon occasion, my mother would have to call to me again. Or, if I were really dawdling, my dad would have to do the dirty work of getting me home for dinner. Yet, I knew the unwritten rule of my family, "When you hear the call, you'd better get going."

Ephesians 4:1 reminds me of my boyhood experience of being summoned for dinner. Our translation reads, "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." The phrase "to live a life" translates the Greek verb peripateo, which means, literally, "to walk." Biblical writers use this verb to talk about what we might refer to as a lifestyle or one's way of life. Thus, "to live a life" captures the meaning of the original verb. It conveys a sense of activity and consistency.

The Christian life is based on our beliefs about and trust in Jesus Christ. Thus, it is a matter of thought and conviction. The Christian life also touches our hearts, allowing us to feel joy and peace in the Lord. Thus, it is also a matter of emotion. But thought, conviction, and emotion, however essential to the Christian life, are not the whole thing. Christianity is not just a matter of what's inside of you. It is also a life to be lived, a walk to be walked, a calling to be heeded with an active response.

In an upcoming reflection, I'll consider the nature of this calling. For now, I'd encourage you to consider the following questions.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What difference does your faith make in the way you live each day? How does Christ influence your work? Relationships? Dreams and goals? Use of money? Civic involvement? Play? Rest? And the rest of your life?

PRAYER: Gracious God, today I am reminded that being a Christian is not just an inner reality, but something to be lived, something to be "walked" in the world. Help me, Lord, to weigh how I'm living in light of my calling. Help me to live out my faith each day, including today. May I truly exist for the praise of your glory today. Amen.

P.S. from Mark: For an excellent overview of a Christian understanding of calling, see "Vocation Overview" at the Theology of Work Project.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge Youth Camp, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.