First Steps to Finding Your Calling
Part 2 of 5
As I said in Part 1 of this 5 part analysis of The Call to Ministry, the proper question to ask about God’s calling to ministry is not “Am I called?” but “To what ministry am I called?” Many times when we ask if we are called to the ministry, the real question we are asking is “Am I called to make ministry my vocation?” The question is valid, but before we can discover if we are called to the “professional” ministry we must analyze what the Bible says about ministry and calling.
What is a calling?
Paul writes that he is “called” of God to be an apostle (Rom. 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1) and he tells Timothy that God called them to a holy “calling” because of God’s own purpose and grace. (2 Tim. 1:9). But these words hold no mystery. In saying that he is “called” Paul uses the Greek word, κλητόςderived from the word καλέωwhich is a verb meaning to call or to summon or invite. These words are used when Jesus “calls” the disciples in Matthew 4:21 and to those who are “invited” to the wedding feast. Matthew 22:3. The distinction is not in the calling but rather in the caller.
Paul notes in 1 Corinthians 1:1 that he was called by the will of God. It is not man that called Paul to be an apostle. In fact, Paul would say that man called him to be the persecutor of Christians that we find in Acts. But God called him away from man’s plan in a miraculous manner. The familiar story unfolds in chapter 9 of Acts. After being struck blind, Paul, then named Saul, is instructed to go into the city of Damascus. There, Ananias meets Saul and prays for him to receive his sight. It is of interest that Ananias knew of Paul’s calling before Paul did. God told Ananias that Paul was “a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles…” 9:15. In Acts 22, Paul indicates that Ananias told him of his ministry and Paul began proclaiming Jesus as the Son of God immediately.
Few of us experience a calling like Paul. But in his calling, Paul illustrated the heart of a disciple wanting to please his Lord. In Acts 22:8-10 Paul says that after he was struck blind he asked, “Who are you, Lord?” Upon receiving the answer that it was Jesus, Paul immediately said, “What am I to do?” These should be the first steps of a disciple and are definitely the first steps to receive a calling. First, seek to know Jesus, study the word, pray, talk to God and listen to him; and second, ask him, “What do you want me to do?”
A calling to a specific ministry may happen in many, many ways from a loud voice of God to an inclination of heart, but all of us, as Christians are called. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10 ESV).
Part 3 will examine our common calling. In a future article we will discuss specific calls and ministries and formulate a guide to discover your calling. But in the meantime, seek to know Jesus and ask him, what do you want me to do. For me the answer to that question began when I prayed as Isaiah prayed in Isaiah 6:8, “Here am I, Lord. Send me.”