Calling has been the subject of more than one conversation with myself! Others have questioned themselves about the same subject. And I’m rethinking that question.
I’ve been reading about Generation “Y” people (Generation Y Protagonists and Special Yuppies, or GYPSYs), those born between the late 70s and the mid-90s. They are coming up against hard realities of life. These people were raised hearing they can be whatever they want to be, and they should just “follow their passions” when choosing a career. One outcome of that train of thought is a growing sense of entitlement.
Calling & Culture
When reality exceeds expectations, we’re happy. When reality falls short, we’re unhappy, or even depressed. Reality just can’t match the dreams GYPSYs have learned to expect.
So what does that have to do with the Church? The Church has often told young Christians to “follow their passions” and they will discover their special “calling”. In fact, it has been said the key to discovering God’s will is just discovering your passions.
Dwelling on the answer to the question of calling is something that seems unique to American Christians. Many Christians around the world are ahead of us in answering the question.
Calling & History
The Protestant Reformers understood calling to be a commitment to glorify God in whatever station we find ourselves. It may be your calling right now to be a student, parent, or minimum wage employee. Whether directly connected with our passions or not, God calls us first and foremost to do the next thing well, to His glory, with all of our might.
Maybe the question isn’t, “What does God want me to do one day?” It may be, “What does God want me to do next?” This will propel us past inaction to live engaged lives in this world, regardless of our particular circumstances.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
Bravely take hold of the real, not dallying now with what might be. Not in the flight of ideas but only in action is freedom. Make up your mind and come out into the tempest of the living.
These are good words to dwell on. Bonhoeffer did and the world is better for it.
P.S. – KB here…This post was first published in 2013. I saw it as I was doing some work on the website. Stan and I are together this week. We are leading a teaching team for the pastors’ school. It just so happens (?) that part of our material today was on Jesus’ method of engaging disciples.
Jesus’ first words in this process were, Come and see. And that is how we ought to begin our outreach to the unbelieving world. Come and see gives way to, Follow Me. Following grows to, Learn of Me. And that takes the disciple into, Abide in Me. And curiously enough, Jesus ended His process with, Obey Me.
That process worked well for Jesus. The Church often starts with, Obey…, and hasn’t seemed to learn that is not a good starting place. Food for thought…