What is a Calling?

A writer I like to follow posts interesting, even controversial content (I absolutely love his status updates!). In one post, the writer wrote about how he dislikes the word “calling.” Why can’t a calling be to a barista, an auto mechanic, etc rather than noble or glamorous fields like missionary or pastor? Calling is indeed loosely used without an understanding of the word and all it entails.

In my experience, a calling is, “…something that drives you to live in obedience to where God has called you to serve. Callings are not glamorous, require you to die to self in painful ways, being humbled at times by people who are smarter than you, being a life long learner, and drawing closer to God because you are leaning more and more on Him to walk the unknown path. It is being honorable in your calling in words and actions. (my comment in response to the status)” 

In looking up “calling” on Got Questions, it said, “Sometimes, God does give an individual a specific ministry, but He always does so in His own timing. Like training before a competition, it takes time to develop the wisdom and skills we need (1 Corinthians 3:2). If God were to give us the mission before the training, we’d try to do too much too soon. Instead, God holds us back, taking time to build our practical skills (Luke 2:52), spiritual knowledge (2 Peter 3:18), and faith (James 2:22). James spoke to this in James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

The last part of the above quote doesn’t quite sound so glamorous or noble, does it? In fact, it sounds like hell. And why not? If you examine the Scriptures and look at the Apostles, their jobs weren’t glamorous.

I relate to the above quote. My calling didn’t come until the last couple of years. I served in a variety of positions in the church as a ministry leader or sometimes just a follower supporting a leader. In fact, even as I say this, I realize how broad my calling is. My calling is with WorldVenture, but under my title is a variety of duties and lots of creative freedom. Many might call writing a calling.

I remember reading in a book written by a literary agent how writers fall into two categories: glory seekers and (forgot the name now) serious writers (for lack of the actual word in the quote). Glory seekers usually only want a name on the front cover, less the work. If it’s a calling, this writer also said, why aren’t we perfecting our work to publish quality stuff? I agree, but my biggest issue is this–What I do with WorldVenture isn’t glamorous.

It’s hard work, and doubly hard when I face people who lack understanding of social media. When you call yourself a writer, people want to hear more and buy your book. You are selling a product they understand. What people can’t imagine without hearing the whole vision is how social media and the church go together.

I’m interested in partnering with the local and global church to empower their understanding in the use of social media to use it for godly purposes, not for marketing, but for outreach, utilizing their own congregation, to change most of the church in how they use it, and help the creatives who lack technology know-how grasp this wonderful communication tool. I’ve consulted with Christian writers, business people, and churches as well as individuals who simply want to share God’s love and their hearts through different and creative online venues.

In the end, I agree with the writer on Facebook. Calling is too loosely used and little understood as to what it entails. I simply take exception to the words glamorous and noble in reference to pastors or missionaries, but agree that we need to view our jobs that we go to every day in a different way.

  • Go to your job and be a walking testimony.
  • Make honorable decisions.
  • Make difficult decisions well.
  • Go the extra mile.
  • Work with humility.
  • Serve as Jesus served.
  • And stop looking out after “number one.”

If we are going to name something a calling, a new level of commitment needs to be undertaken whether we call ourselves a missionary, pastor, barista, auto mechanic, writer or church secretary. Are you ready for that level of commitment?

If you would like to hear more about what I do with WorldVenture, leave a comment. If you wish to support this work and the global church, click here to start a monthly financial commitment