One of the things that I spend an inordinate amount of times thinking about (more so in the past, but still a fair amount now) is the concept of calling. I am frequently asking myself what is God calling me to.
When I was a teenager I often answered that question with something along the lines of ‘becoming a missionary’. I had read books about the Chinese house Church, spent time with missionary couples in my Church and loved the stories of heroism for the faith. Then, when I entered University and after graduating, I thought God was asking me to plant a Church or become a pastor. Now I have settled on the simple phrase ‘to be a man after God’s own heart’ and to help others be the same.
The reason for this being, is because I realised a few years ago, that I actually didn’t know what calling God had put on my life. I wasn’t sure, if he wanted me to train preachers, start a house church, work with a para-church organisation, or to remain in Cancer Research doing my best to be light and salt in the world. What I did know for sure is that I wanted to pursue God’s heart. I wanted to follow Him and become as much like Jesus as I could become. I knew that I wanted to help others experience the blessing, joy, peace and goodness of having a life lived in such a way.
In a similar vein, the young man Saul was commissioned such. The prophet Samuel had told him that he was going to become King, and that a number of signs would occur to assure him that God was with him. Then Samuel said these words:
Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your circumstances require, for God is with you. – 1 Samuel 10:7
In other words, ‘since you know that God is with you, do whatever your circumstances require’.
Life’s meaning doesn’t come from fulfilling a specific calling, or from having the “perfect circumstances”, rather it comes from confidence in God’s presence being with us. When we know that God is with us we can be content with whatever life offers.
A few more verses to add weight to this truth:
- And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him – Col 3:17
- So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Cor 10:31
- A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. Ps 84:10
- Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.” (Even to the promised land – flowing with milk and honey) Exodus 33:15
- So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. – Heb 10:35
For this reason, I am learning to be content with whatever circumstances (whatever calling/vocation I end up in) because I know that God is with me. Whether I lead a church, start a movement, whether I am respected and build a name for myself. Or whether I sit at a desk putting numbers into a database. I am learning to say for me to pursue God’s heart is enough. Whatever it looks like, whatever my hands find to do, I will do it for God.
One final Bible story. In the book of Genesis there is a family tree from Adam’s two sons. Firstly, there is Cain, from whom comes a man called Enoch. Now Enoch is successful, he has a city named after him (Gen 4:17). But secondly, there is Seth, from who also comes a descendant called Enoch. But Seth’s Enoch is different, he doesn’t have a name for himself or a city on his reputation. Instead he has something greater:
Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. – Genesis 5:24
May we seek to be more like the second Enoch than the first. Content to walk with God and then disappear.