WHEN THE CALLING STOPS BEING ENOUGH
Last month I was asked to make a video for Janina’s birthday. As one of her 18 wishes, I needed to give her one. So I thought hard about what to wish a girl who has achieved so much in less than two decades of her life. So young and yet she’s grown a platform that for many others, will take all their lives to build. Maybe then she ought to make a wish for me!
But as I thought and prayed to God about the very thing He wanted this lady to to hear in this season of her life, the more it became clear to me that all she’s achieved are only possible because of these two things: God’s favor and Janina’s obedience to His call. So while I could wish her more influence, success, promotion and favor in this world, I decided to tell her that above all, I wish and pray she’d grow more in her relationship with God.
And this message goes for all of us, too. For many of us who begin with the noble intention of obeying God’s call, may we always remind ourselves that the Caller is the main point of our faith and not the Calling. Many sad stories already tell us how even the best of us later on find ourselves lost in the work and forgetting to enjoy the reason for the work that we do. It only takes a few weeks of extreme busyness for us to make a god out of our work instead of working for the purposes of God. But it should never be this way, that God and work have switched sides without us even noticing it. And it is also important to know why.
TO SECURE OUR IDENTITY
When the Lord is first in our hearts, we always have a place and portion. Our lot is secure. It will never be our calling’s job to give us identity because our relationship with God will always provide that. And so any time that the boat of our calling rocks — I am not as in demand as before, my skills have seemingly dwindled, I am losing favor with my bosses, there is now somebody better than me — we still won’t have that sinking feeling, knowing that God loves us still and has plans and portions set aside for all of our days.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:34)
Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21)
TO DIRECT OUR STEPS
When we make the choice to hear the Lord’s voice above all else, we will know when to say yes and when to say no, when the open door is for us to enter or for us to close. Because not all rooms are for our taking, though it may not be so obvious just by looking at the gate. Because calls are felt throughout our lives, but not all of them are coming from the Lord. And it takes a real relationship with Jesus to know it is He who is talking, asking, inviting.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27)
TO HAVE THE RIGHT PERSPECTIVE
While our calling can be seasonal or for a lifetime, both of them entail an end. Seasons change and we all die. So what do we do when we one day find ourselves in a place where the calling we’ve seriously worked on and for is now over? What happens when a singer one day loses her voice for good? What happens when a mother finds her grown children no longer want to put up Christmas decorations with her? What happens to highly successful people when they die?
The answer can go either way. That when the calling we’ve turned into a god is lost, we lose our bearings and never recover. But when our calling is only secondary to the Caller, then we’ve lost nothing at all. We’ve merely turned a page of this beautiful walk we are taking with the Lord. Not to say it will not be difficult, but surely with Him, even when it is, we remain undefeated.
But He who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. (Ecclesiastes 9:4-5)
So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many. All that comes is vanity. (Ecclesiastes 12:8)
My prayer for all of us seeking to please and honor the Lord with our lives, is that we will never continue doing so without meeting Him in our personal, quiet, solitary places. May our primary calling be to build with the Caller himself, and let the rest simply follow.
Have a good Monday.