Finding Your Calling
Text: Ephesians 4:1-3
by Robert J. Young
A Princeton University study revealed that on any given day, 60-80% of Americans are dissatisfied with their jobs--enough to consider job change. Live lives of quiet desperation. Career sufferers--show up at church, counselor, work with various difficulties in life--marriages, physical health, self-esteem, relationship with bosses-peers-subordinates. All symptoms of deeper problem. Problem is lack of purpose, direction, focus. Lack of calling.
If asked about calling, most answer by saying what we do for living. "Missing your calling" is equated with being in wrong line of work. Calling has come to mean job or vocation. Vocational training is job training. Vocational counseling refers to career choices.
Word "calling" (vocatio) is much richer in biblical text, related to understanding of human life, Eph. 4:1ff. When God calls to vocation, gives daily labor religious dignity and tells of spiritual significance of everyday working life. Our world no longer sees vital connection between God, work, and human community.
I. BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS
- A. All are called, 1 Cor. 1.
God does not call a few into special religious work leaving the rest without a calling. God calls everyone to specific tasks in this world, in loving service to human community. Some callings are obviously church related, some are not. All are religiously significant, for through them we participate in God's providence. God has chosen to provide for our needs primarily through work of human hands--ours and others.
- B. Calling in the Bible is Basic to Following Jesus--we are called to Jesus
Klesis, election. We are called by the gospel, called to repentance and faith, called into fellowship with JC, called out of darkness into light, called to be holy, called to be saints. Our calling can be made certain through certain life habits, 2 Pet. 1. One call goes out to all--a call to discipleship. [Many are called, few are chosen.]
- C. Called into the body--called together
When one answers God's call and follows Jesus in discipleship, the Bible sees that calling as leading one into fellowship and community with other believers. Christianity is personal, but not merely individual. Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12 see the church as a body composed of interdependent parts. Each part has a limited but essential role. Each is important. Each depends upon others for spiritual wholeness and well-being.
1 Pet 4, each should use gift received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. Each has a contribution to make to the overall well-being of the body. These gifts are not given that we might be proud and self-important, but for the good of the body. We are not only called to faithful repentance and obedience, but to particular tasks.
The Puritans distinguished these are general calling and particular calling.
II. BIBLICAL APPLICATIONS
Finding your call.
Given this biblical understanding of calling, several important questions-concepts-themes should be examined in summary. Today we share three groups of three that come from Eph. 2,3,4.
- A. What is your worth? Eph. 2.
1. Discovery. Discover you. Unique, talented, capable, contributing to overall health of spiritual body.
2. Workmanship is idea that you are a unique creation of God. The infinitely creative God endowed you with unique, wonderful set of skills and abilities.
3. Expression. God wants us to do that which expresses our uniqueness, gifts, talents, abilities. Moses chose people who were uniquely skilled when he was building tabernacle.
- B. What does God expect of you? Eph. 3
Choice--dependence or independence/Lordship/Provision.
1. We choose to answer God's call. We choose dependence and relationships or we choose independence and isolation.
2. Lordship refers to the truth that we are not our own, but that we have been purchased with a price. Acknowledging Jesus as Lord is essential to the Christian life and practice. Rom. 12:1. This is the reality of God's active involvement in our lives. It is God who is at work within our lives.
3. We have lost perspective in our nation concerning physical needs and challenges, rampant materialism has resulted. Fiscal and familial responsibility is rooted in the truth that we have choice and God provides.
- C. How will I find fulfillment? Eph. 4
1. God calls us to more than doing and having. In Jesus Christ we find identity through his grace and calling.
2. Stewardship means taking responsibility to wisely invest our lives as God has invested in us. Too many are immobilized waiting for God. God only asks that we be effective stewards of that which he provides. What are God's expectations of me/you/us, how can we as good stewards meet those expectations?
3. Mission. Whether we are at work, on the job, down at the church house, at home with our families, or in the community, we must invest in that which builds God's kingdom. Knowing what God is doing and investing our time and talents strategically are critical to satisfying God's expectations and positively viewing our own self- worth. Seeking the kingdom first has implications for how we invest our lives.
We began with a picture of quiet desperation. What is the biblical solution to the humdrum, boredom, meaninglessness of existence which so many experience? Discovering and expressing our uniqueness as God's workmanship, choosing to depend upon Jesus as Lord and provider, and finding identity and being as his representative using his resources for his purposes and mission are essential.
God is calling. He is waiting. Is anybody listening?
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Last updated February 10, 2001.