A number of years ago, Randy Craker (our District Superintendent), shared a message with the college-aged students of our ministry. He talked about how their time, whether being in college or not, was their time before going out of the “land” they knew.
One of the hardest things about leading college ministry wasn’t the students. They were a joy. The frustration was with people who didn’t understand why we (whether us as leaders or the church in general) would invest time and effort in people who weren’t going to stay. It was hard to understand that the entire point of the ministry was to launch the students and to “take” God with them wherever God would take them.
DS Craker understood that these young people were already called out of the places they called home and would be headed into the world. Air Force Officer, teacher, nurse, pastor, mom, dad are some of the titles/responsibilities of these students. Who were we to question where God was sending them?
One of the misleading aspects of this is that the “calling out” is done at that point. Many people act as if the call will only come when we’re young. Abram wasn’t a young man. The call disrupted his life.
Imagine how those who heard Paul’s letter read out loud (that’s how these letters were originally shared) felt. “If you’re a slave, while you’re free in Christ, you’re still a slave. Be happy.” If you were a slave, celebrating your freedom in Christ, and then this.
The Greeks likely still felt a bit “second” to the Jews. They were probably relieved (especially the men) that circumcision was discouraged.
Paul’s comment to the Jews was interesting. Apparently, there were Jews that were now trying to be Greek (or Gentile). How that was happening is unclear. There is some mocking as it was, at that time, impossible to become uncircumcised (theoretically, it is possible with today’s medical technology).
Paul’s words are somewhat prescriptive. We should not expect that choosing to follow Jesus will change our circumstances, nor might it change the where and when of our lives. The biggest change, of course, is the perspective we take with us.
- Why do you think that some people are called out of their circumstances/places, while others are called to remain?
- Why is it important to understand that both calls are equally valid?
- Looking at Paul’s letter, what is common among believers? Why is that important?