What is calling? For pastors, their calling is…being a pastor. Even how “being a pastor” changes depending on character, passions, and context.
However, due to the influence of the Roman Catholic church (statement not fault-finding), most Protestant traditions (there are some exceptions) use the word “calling” for only one “calling”…being a pastor.
There was some famous person who once wrote that a butcher lovingly caring for his customers (including not swindling them and giving them quality) was a greater giver of grace and love than a pastor (supposedly, this was Martin Luther, but no quote could be found).
A butcher as a greater herald of grace than a pastor? Yes. Now, in earlier ages, apprenticeship to one’s father or to another usually meant that one’s career was set for life. Farms and herds were passed down generation to generation. For a time, businesses were the same.
In that context, calling was to something “greater” than one’s apprenticeship and it was usually to the church. However, in our context, that is no longer the case. One’s career isn’t limited. While it is still uncommon, people do regularly change trades or careers. Thus, re-examining “calling” has become essential.
The soldiers and tax collectors that John spoke to were likely in the habit of extorting extra money due to their power. John told them to be satisfied with their set (i.e., official) wages. In such a place, a soldier or tax collector doing such would be a powerful witness.
When Peter talks about calling, he is more referring to the call to follow Christ, yet the concept of “calling” still fits. Calling indeed refers to following Jesus and in Jesus’ steps. Yet, at the same time, each of us has our own path to walk.
Where you are is where you are called. How that works for you and anyone is between you (or them) and God. What isn’t a question is that you are called to bear witness to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the reconciliation between humanity and God through that.
Sometimes it will be speaking into their pain. Sometimes it will be not doing something others do. Sometimes it will be encouragement. Sometimes (though less often and with great care) it will even be goading them.
You are called to bear witness. You are called to testify. You are called to lead others to Jesus. You are called to do this where and when you are right now.
God, give us wisdom and discernment to see our calling and to faithfully fulfill it. Amen.
1) Where are called right now? Is that different than it was a year ago?
2) How do you know you are called right now to where you are? What does that mean in regards to how you live your life?
3) Why is it critical that all Christians understand their calling? Why is it critical to understand where “pastors” and “spiritual leaders” are not called in your life?