I just came back from a missions trip to the Dominican Republic with my church’s senior high ministry. 88 of use went to build chapels, clear land, and run Vacation Bible Schools. I spent time praying and thinking about my past battles with my understanding of calling. In other words, in the modern sense (often written about and lamented by so many) of doing work God has called me to do. You might ask, isn’t going on a missions trip a calling? Well, yes, it is, for 8 days, but not for a period of life, say my late forties.
Some of the adult leaders were master craftsmen, carpenters with amazing skills. I know a little bit about saws and nailing, but nothing about building real structures that can hold 50 people and withstand hurricanes. They – the carpenters – seemed to be living their calling. Seemingly enjoying the doing and the teaching of making.
This being my third missions trip involving skills I generally do not have, I was happily ready to do whatever. Un-phased by my lack of building skills and reliant on Him that He would guide and provide. You see, my sense of calling has shifted over the last few years from what I do to whom I follow.
I am convinced God doesn’t need me. Being omnipotent gives one a tendency to be very self-reliant. But, being that He desires us to be in relationship with Him, He uses us nonetheless. He uses us to accomplish His goals because humans have this uncanny ability to influence other humans. Just watch teens on a missions trip. The greatest witnesses and encouragers to teens are other teens, coached by a few older folks who know when to help a teen make a move.
So, calling. In everyday life – at work, on a missions trip, shopping, driving – it boils down to one question: Am I focused on living a Christ-like life, or am I focused on what I should or could be doing?
I think Luke 9: 23-27 (The Message) gives a great mediation on this. Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”
See? Take your stand. Let Him lead. It’s not about what you do, it’s about how you follow.