Are You Called? Are You Sure?
Yes! You are in! Thanks for making it in. You ready for some reflection? You called? You sure? This is Tom back at ya...aka...TommyP. As you heard in the last episode, things went dry for me. It happens. It's part of the test. There will be times when things go dry for you too. What happened to the flow? Pause, pray and reflect is what you need to know. So I prayed, and then Casey stepped up. And now Bob Shank comes at me and you get this nugget of wisdom, here you go...click here to listen to the episode or simply read below...
Are you called? Are you sure? Many of you don't know. So thank you for tuning in. For those not sure, you are here for a reason. You're listening to this right now for a reason. You have a purpose. Don't let the enemy or others tell you different. How do I know you have a purpose, check Jer 29:11.
Yet it is your job to ask. To pray. To tune in. How often do you do that? It should be daily. Every day, you ask God. Every day you check in.
Often are flawed human minds complicate things. So we need teachers and mentors that can speak common sense into our lives. The Bible is full of them. There's a reason it's the top published book in the world. Start in Proverbs. Amazing wisdom in that book. My favorite teacher is Jesus. Simply to Matt, Mark, Luke and John. Or if you are visual, I really like the Chosen series.
Then you find mentors and teachers that are good with sharing above. I like podcasts like Daily Hope, Unashamed, Dr. Bryan Lorrits, Southwest Church with Ricky Jenkins, Noe Garcia with NPHX, Tim Keller, Francis Chan the list goes on.
What about my calling? Oh yeah. Here's another mentor of mine. Bob Shank. He founded something called The Master's Program. I studied under him for 3 years. Bob was mentored by Bob Buford the author of the best selling book Half Time. Both Bob's were mentored by Peter Drucker, the leadership and business legend. Who is quoted in just about every business school in the world. Serious wisdom. So here's a nugget for you shared by Bob...
What is a “calling?” Ask that of “the Google” – the modern-day soup-to-nuts source of information – and, in less than a second, you’ll receive over 3 billion offers of insight. With that kind of instant and plentiful reaction, we should all be living lives of confidence and calling… right? Not so much…
A year before Google hit the internet, The Master’s Program launched to help leaders find their calling. In a country full of churches (more prolific in number than Starbucks), clarity about calling should be guaranteed. Asking Merriam-Webster (the trusted source before Google) the same question: Calling: a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence. The dictionary assumes God’s involvement in the search.
Building on that assumption, the Bible unravels the issue by disclosing four distinct calls issued by God to His creation. What are they?
First, the Call to Conversion: “Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, to those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ,” (Jude 1:1). The starting point in this epic discovery presumes saving faith as foundational. No Jesus; no calling.
Next, there is a Call to Transformation: “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life,” (1 Thessalonians 4:7). New life in faith is simply a starting point; the assignment for every follower of Jesus is to “live a holy life.” The metamorphosis from life-ala-culture to life-ala-Christ is a calling for every Christian to hear and to heed. Discipleship is tough work; it’s a calling.
Then, there’s a Call to Faithfulness: “Each one should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him,” (1 Corinthians 7:17). Every follower of Jesus has a life full of roles: spouse, parent, employee or employer, citizen; Scriptures contain explicit instructions that articulate God’s expectations for His children to fulfill His best intentions in each of those positions. To be called carries obligation: faithfulness anticipates hearing, understanding and obeying the marching orders that accompany the titles that position us in society.
Ultimately, there is a Call to Fruitfulness: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them,’” (Acts 13:2). “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle,” (Romans 1:1). Paul is an exemplar of this principle: though self-financed and self-employed as a tentmaker – a role that consumed the lion’s share of his time – Paul is most remembered for his 1st Century role as an apostle for Jesus’ kingdom, called to take the Gospel to the non-Jewish Gentile world. “Fruitfulness” is not up for redefinition: it means achieving results in this life that will be measured and rewarded in the next.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer – the Christian leader who stood strong against Hitler, and was hanged for his unrelenting commitment to the Gospel and truth – said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.”
People don’t die for their box in a business organizational chart; they won’t give themselves as martyrs for a lie. Throwing oneself indiscriminately on the altar of a cultural movement may happen in the heat of a moment, but the decision won’t be ratified by rational evaluation after the frenzy passes. Only a divine calling – the Call to Fruitfulness – has the eternal appeal to rise above self-interest and become one’s ultimate purpose for life and beyond.
That certainty is clear, even to people without a compelling conversion story: “If God gives you something you can do, why in God’s name wouldn’t you do it?” (Stephen King, dubbed “the King of Horror,” with no declaration of personal faith). The man with no divine answers asks a wise and provocative question: what would you say, in response?