Continued thoughts from a recent post Vision is not about You
I want to take this opportunity to challenge the way we esteem our “calling” in life. Although I know it is necessary to understand and focus on our “calling”, I think we must be aware of the potential side effects that manifest when we place too much weight on this idea.
I believe that God can speak to us on both a macro and micro level. The macro being the long-term vision and the micro referring to our day to day interactions with God. The main side effect with placing so much focus on our “calling”, is that we end up justifying our ignorance in the micro by our obedience on the macro.
I think this happens to many of us quite often. You see a homeless man walking your way and suddenly the debate rapidly rages through your mind. “I’m called to medicine, not social services”, “I’m an administrator, not an evangelist”, “I’m called to the nations, not to this city”. We take the micro events of our day to day for granted in order to uphold an undefined future position. If it doesn’t fit into the big picture, it simply does not have a place in our life. Giving precedence to our “calling” often blinds us from the painful reality of our context.
My house church recently pointed out some examples in scripture of people making some unorthodox day to day decisions that did not seem to correspond to their God given long-term calling. The young David is anointed to become King by Samuel at an early age and yet he continues to dodge the throne for many years. In fact, his entourage often wondered why David refused to kill Saul and seize the throne. It seemed like the normal route to the royal palace.
When we receive a long-term “calling”, we often adopt an assumed route, a set path that most, who have a similar calling, seem to take. Kings tend to overthrow Kings. That’s just how it works. The problem with adopting an assumed route or set path, is that more often than not, we make micro decisions that require little to no consultation from God. David refused to lay a hand on Saul due to a conviction from the Lord. You’ll see it time after time, how often David consults God before going to battle. God seemed to be involved in both his macro and micro vision. He never let the ambition for the promised crown deter him from obeying the voice of God everyday.
Imagine Abraham for a moment. The promise was clear as day! “I will make you into a great nation” God says. With this promise in mind Abraham finally has the child he has been waiting for. From this point forward, there should be no question how this promise would be fulfilled. Keep the boy safe and get him a wife. Enough said. But what shocked me about Abraham is that although the road was clear and the path was set, he kept on listening to the Lord. He stayed attentive long enough to hear some troubling directions. “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love and… sacrifice him there as a burnt offering.” What could be more counter-productive to Abraham’s “calling” then to kill the promised child? If I were Abraham, I’d ignore the micro directions in order to stay faithful the macro promise. But I guess Abraham trusted in the fact that the present voice was no different from the past. Directions may vary and the instructions may not make sense, but we must stay faithful to the voice that leads us on.
We need to be present in every moment, no matter how great of a vision we receive. We can get so caught up in what could be that we fail to stay faithful to what is. When I see the ministry of Jesus, he seemed to always stay present. Whether it was short guy sitting on a tree or a woman touching his garment, Jesus would always make time to stop and at times even detour before getting to his desired destination. He was never in a rush to get anywhere because he understood that he was presently in his calling. He wasn’t stepping into it, approaching it or almost arriving, he was already there.
We glorify our calling because we fail to comprehend that our calling is happening as we speak. Our calling starts now. Until we realize that we are living in our calling, we will always bypass the present. We’ll take our moments for granted and continue expecting what lies ahead. Anticipation may build hope for what is to come, but it also paralyzes us from living life today. We need to embrace the detours that present itself everyday and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as he directs. Our calling is bigger than an occupation, title or position, and we need to start living in it today.
To get a better picture of where I’m coming from, take a look at a previous blog I wrote called Vision is not about You.