Lagniappe for Sunday, October 26 (’14)
I have recently noticed that some people get very upset when you challenge their claim to a “special calling”. A call to feed the hungry. A call to care for orphans. A call to visit those in prison. A call to correct oppression. Whatever avenue of ministry that mysterious “call” has drawn them to, it is often used as justification for their exemption from a myriad of other things we are legitimately commanded to do in scripture.
There is an abundance of clear instruction in the scriptures on how we should live and focus our energy, gifts, and resources. No one does all Scripture says. We trip and stumble as we strive for some measure of obedience to the lofty commands of God. Even in our shortcomings, we should not lower the bar in or order to prove that we are capable of reaching it. We must be careful about appealing to the popular notion of an exclusive calling to live out one specific command; especially to justify the neglect of others.
It is important to consider that personal confirmation of a “special calling” is based on an extra-biblical and subjective feeling—a personal interpretation of signs and symbols and the denial of the possibility that our sin nature and personal agenda might be distorting our perception. Further, it sets an individual beyond the bounds of examination or reproach. After all, if God has communicated His will to them, who are we to question the plan and purpose of the Almighty?
It is easy to offend “the called” when you suggest that doing any specific work is a personal choice for which they are responsible. They are forced to reevaluate their reasons for choosing to pursue or avoid a certain avenue of ministry. A feeling of “peace” or a “burden” for “such and such” is great, but we have to consider that the alternative is sin. Namely, anxiety and apathy. We should not bank on anxiety and apathy as a sign that we are not “called” to do a specific work. Nor should we bank on “warm and fuzzies” as confirmation that we ARE “called” to a specific work. Sometimes obedience requires we swim against the current.
God is sovereign. God does have a plan and a purpose for each of us. Its not our job to discern our path by anything other than the clear commands of scripture. If we focus on conforming our life to that, in its entirety, we can be confident that we are doing exactly what we are called to do. God will get us where He wants us to go.