“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches.” (I Corinthians 7:17, ESV)
When we think about the calling of God, our thoughts often go to pastors, perhaps some well-known Bible teachers, and of course missionaries—you know, the “important assignments” in the body of Christ. Our mind does not as quickly think of the nursery worker, the person going through the pews picking up left behind trash, or the man standing out in the weather to direct cars on the parking lot. Nor do we think of things like parenting, volunteer work, or our regular employment as a calling.
If I were to ask you now, “What is your calling from God?” would you stumble and stammer? Would you shake your head and tell me you don’t have a calling because you’re just an ordinary believer sitting on the pew? It’s easy to downplay the importance of quiet acts of service or fail to recognize the value of our place in the body of Christ?
I recently heard a minister say, “There is no such thing as an unimportant calling.” As I pondered his statement, I decided to search the Bible for verses that talk about God’s calling. (There’s a lot of them!) Here are some of the things I discovered.
- Our calling is a holy calling. “Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (II Timothy 1:9, ESV). God has a divine purpose for each of us, not just a select “important” few.
- Our calling is permanent. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29, NKJV). There will never be a time in our life when God does not have a purpose, a divine plan, for us to fulfill. Whatever our calling may be, it holds value.
Although God has a specific plan, or calling, for each of our lives, His Word reveals several ways in which He calls every believer to action.
- We are all called to follow His example. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (I Peter 2:21, NKJV).
- We are all called to share our testimony. First Peter 2:9 says we are to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (NKJV).
- We are all called to fruitfulness. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit . . .” (John 15:16, ESV).
- We are all called to service. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (I Peter 4:10, ESV).
If the word calling seems a bit weighty (and maybe a bit scary) for you, consider how one translation of I Corinthians 7:17 phrases it. “Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him.” You are on assignment for God. That assignment may be motherhood. It may be letting your light shine to your coworkers. Or perhaps your assignment is reaching out to the homeless, the shut-in, or a troubled teen. He will use your unique abilities and personality to fulfill His calling in your life.
Whatever calling God places upon your life, it is important. Otherwise, He would never ask you to do it.