Your calling for today

Published 5:42 pm Saturday, July 11, 2015

As we were finishing our Vacation Bible School last week, a couple in our faith community at Courtland United Methodist Church came up to me to express their appreciation for the Bible School and to share how much it had meant for their children. In our conversation, they made the comment, “You have really found your calling.” I appreciated their willingness to share how they saw God working through our ministry, but the comment made me think about what we mean when we talk about our “calling.”

“Calling” is often a word that we use to talk about the process by which someone has determined that God is inviting them into ordained ministry as a professional clergy person. I can certainly tell you many stories about my own calling as it relates to being an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church, but I want us to broaden our understanding of calling because it is not only clergy who are “called.”

To be “called” simply means that God has a purpose for you. Each and every person is called because God has hopes and dreams for each of us. Your calling is probably different from mine as a pastor, but that does not make your calling any less important to God or to you. Callings come in many different shapes and sizes and even vary in length. Just like all callings are not to professional ministry, so also all callings are not life-long callings.

There are a few people in this world to whom God gives a clear, lifelong calling that they know will be their life’s work. That calling may be to teaching, foster care, parenting, caring for the sick or ministry in the local church. Identifying a lifelong calling is usually hard work and it can be a bit stressful if we think we need to know what God is calling us to for the remainder of our days.

The reality of calling for most people is different. Most of us find our calling in seasons of life that may last anywhere from a day or two to a few years. Think about Abraham, the “father of faith” in the Old Testament. God spoke to him and called him to “Leave your land, your family and your father’s household for the land that I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). Abraham’s calling was to get up and go to a new land. God didn’t make clear to him if this was a lifelong calling or simply like moving to the Outer Banks for the summer. All Abraham knew was that, in this season of life, he was called to pick up his family and move.

Abraham’s story shows us something else about calling: calling is always about how we are responding to God in the present. Abraham understood that God’s call impacted how he lived the day in front of him — and he lived that day well. We are all in the same situation as Abraham: we have a calling to live out today. You may not know what God is going to call you to next year or even tomorrow, but as you begin each new day, you can begin it with the question, “What is my calling today?”

Your calling may be as simple as being a person who speaks life and joy to the people around you (that is actually much harder than it sounds).

Your calling may be to care for a sick friend or relative, to show the love of Christ to someone you struggle to love, to pray diligently for your church and community, or to show interest and care for the children and youth in your community.

All of these and a million other callings may be God’s call for you today. I don’t know what God is inviting you to invest yourself in today, but I do know that you are called by God today. May you seek out God’s calling and live it.

If you need some help figuring out how God is calling you, I would be happy to talk with you. At Courtland United Methodist Church, we are on a journey of discerning who God has called us to be as a church and as individuals. We are beginning a new series “Church Without Walls” this week in order to help us break down some of the misunderstandings we have about who God has called us to be together and how to live our call together.

Join us if you are looking for a community seeking to live out our callings together or connect to another community, but wherever you are, know God has called you today. May you live today well!

ANDREW BOOK is the pastor of Courtland United Methodist Church. He can be contacted at 653-2240 or