What is your calling?

In our home for the past two weeks we have been discussing the idea of a “call.” The 2015 National Presbyterian College Scholarship essay on Christian vocation instructed the applicant to “reflect and discuss with parents, pastor, and peers: Who is someone you admire because they are faithful to their call? What distinguishes this person?” Rocky has always liked the Frederick Buechner quote which says “vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.”  It is not only through paid positions of Christian ministry that God can use our gifts and talents. We can serve God in any number of occupations. It might be that our job gives us the livelihood to then volunteer in areas where God has sparked a tremendous interest.

In Pam Strickland’s recent Letter to the Editor I was reminded of her passion as the founder of Eastern North Carolina Stop Human Trafficking Now. Her goal is to educate people that human trafficking exists in the United States and specifically in North Carolina. She has followed her call to increase our awareness of this tragedy and to seek to be part of the solution. In her letter she wrote, “I am so proud of Chris and Anna Smith for having the courage to follow God’s call on their lives, even when it’s hard.”

Their call as co-founders of Restore One was to seek to open shelters that offer faith-based residential recovery programs free of cost to boys who are survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST).Currently Restore One is in the process of building the Anchor House which will provide refuge and restoration to four adolescent boys, ages 12-18. A pertinent question for us Christians is how would we respond to news that such a home would be established in our neighborhood. Would we be more concerned about a safe haven for these victims of abuse or about any inconvenience or drawback we might perceive from the plan?  Certainly, we should value the lives of all human beings and should care less about our own comfort and desires than those of others. How does God’s calling affect my reactions to things? How do I support my friends, family members and neighbors in their pursuit of a call? Am I more concerned with monetary or social stability than with what could be a radical claim of God on my life or the life of a fellow Christian?

If we go through weeks or months without doing something that requires us to step outside of what we want to do and into areas of service that are truly uncomfortable we probably are not staying in tune to what God desires of us.  As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “when Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.”  As the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:1-6,

“ I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to one hope, when you were called – one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”

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