The Christian Callings

I came across a word in my studies recently. The word "calling" slapped me in the face and grabbed me by the throat and wouldnít let me go. The thoughts and things I had read about the Christian calling played over and over again in my mind like a song I hate but canít get out of my head. Okay, so, it wasnít quite that bad; however, my condition is such that I have to share it with someone before I start beating my head against the wall.

Every Christian receives two callings in his life. This is an appeal from God. The actual mode of the appeal may come through a person, but the work in the calling is done through the Holy Spirit.

The Call to Salvation

The first calling is the calling to salvation. I know most of us never think of the salvation experience as a calling, but consider 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV): We are therefore Christís ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christís behalf: Be reconciled to God. Did you see the phrase "as thought God were making his appeal through us"? The sinner doesnít seek to find God, but God seeks to find the sinner. He is calling us to salvation.

The call to salvation is the most important call we will ever answer in our lives. It is the appeal of God for us to reconcile with Him. He already made reconciliation possible through Jesusí death on the cross and His resurrection. All we have to do is accept the fact that we have no hope apart from Jesus and offer our lives to Him.

The Call to Service

The second calling in the Christianís life is a call to service. There is more to this calling than just pastors, ministers, and full-time Christian work. Those are what we usually think about when we think about Christian calling, but thatís just part of it. He [Christ] handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the churchÖ. (Ephesians 4:11-12 MSG) You see, itís the pastors job to train the Christian for servant work, but there is still more work to be done.

In 1 Corinthians 12:7 (CEV), Paul tells the Corinthians, The Spirit has given each of us a special way of serving others. Please, note that Paul said "each of us" not "some of us." God has a special ministry for each and every one of us. Your ministry cannot be my ministry, and my ministry cannot be your ministry, because God has mixed within each of us a unique blend of gifts and talents. Some parts of my ministry may look like your ministry Ė we may both be teachers Ė but we each bring our unique style to our gifts.

Do you think the collection of individuals in your local church is a random gathering? I donít. Later in the same chapter, Paul begins to compare the church to the human body. Paul tells us that every part is important, and every part is needed for the body to functions as expected. God, in his divine wisdom, has put us together. "But God has put all parts of our body together in the way that he decided is best." (1 Corinthians 12:18 CEV) God has also put the church body together in the way he decided is best.

Therefore, the challenge before each of us is to find our place, our ministry, within the church. Many have found their ministry, and they work as part of the whole to accomplish the tasks of the church. However, if one part of the body is not functioning, the whole body suffers. We must ask God what part of the body he wants us to be; then, actively seek that place.

God brought you to your local place of worship because of your special mixture gifts and talents. He is calling you to discover your place. One of the greatest joys of the Christian life is knowing you are in Godís will for your life.

Discovering Your Calling

I mentioned each person having a ministry to serve the church, but one begins to ask, where does all this come from? And how do we find it?

In the 1 Corinthians 12, Paul makes it clear that the gifts for ministry come from the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all (1 Corinthians 12:4 NLT). Therefore, when trying to discover your spiritual gifts, a good place to start is prayer. During prayer, the Spirit can speak to us about the things we should do.

Another way to begin to discover spiritual gifts is to look around the church for needs. Ask your Sunday School teacher or members of the staff where the needs are in the church. Seriously pray about those needs and how you might fill those needs. You might actually discover something about yourself and the things you never knew you could do.

There are many spiritual gifts surveys that help you discover your spiritual gifts through questions and statements. If you honestly fill out one of these surveys, they give you a good indicator of what your gifts are.

Last, donít be afraid to fail. The fear of failure could rob you of the joy of practicing your gifts and accomplishing the ministry God has called you to do. There is a certain amount of fearlessness as you step out in faith, knowing that God will direct your path to the place where He wants you.