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Rising to the Call ; September 22, 2011

This semester, I am one of several Honors mentors for the freshmen entering the Honors program. Right now we are reading a book called Rising to the Call by Os Guinness. I read this book for this class when I was a freshmen (=ahem= most of it), and now I'm reading it again. The first two chapters have brought up some interesting thoughts about calling.

The main point of the first two chapters is that there is no calling without a Caller, and the Caller is God. Our primary calling is to God - it is God calling us to Himself. Our secondary calling is to live and act for Him in everything we do, and this involves vocation/work. Guinness's point is that there shouldn't be a dualism between these two callings. We shouldn't focus on our spiritual life so much that we push out work and think work is unimportant (what he calls the "Catholic Distortion"), but we also shouldn't focus on our work so much that we don't leave time for our relationship with God (what he calls the "Protestant Distortion").

I totally agree with this, but I think that just by making the distinction between the two, there is a danger of thinking they are separate. When Jesus answered the question, "What is the greatest commandment?" He gave us two. Love God with everything you have, and love your neighbor. (Matthew 22:34-40). He didn't say just one or just the other; He gave us both, and said there is no commandment greater than these—no commandment greater than both together. You can't have one without the other, and that's where the distortions come from. They are meant to be joined together, fused together in how we live and how we love, to the point that they are hardly distinguishable any more.

I was just thinking about my calling. I know God has called me into missions. When I was a freshmen reading this book, I just knew I wanted to go to Latin America and help bring God's kingdom... by loving orphans, widows, the poor, anyone and everyone, while spreading the gospel. Now that I'm a junior, I think I have a little clearer direction on my calling. Now I'm a TESOL minor (teaching English to speakers of other languages), and I didn't know I wanted to teach English until my freshmen year of college was almost over. Now, I still anticipate going to Latin America to do missions, but I think that will start by me teaching English to people there who have a need to learn the language. I marvel at how God has worked in my life to bring all the gifts He's given me into what He's called me to do.

But here I am talking about my "secondary calling," as Guinness calls it. But the point I want to make is this: there doesn't have to be the distinction. Our primary calling is to God, absolutely—it's to love Him and be with Him and praise Him with everything we do. But that's the key. We must love him at all times—both when we are spending time with Him in the Word, praying, and worshiping Him, and when we are working, doing homework, talking to friends, walking to class...... It is possible to be pursuing God in every moment, no matter what you're doing. It is possible to have your heart, your spirit set on the reality of God, on the presence of God, while you are writing a paper or sitting in class.

So when it comes to my calling to missions, I think that in the future when I am teaching English, when I am working with people from another culture, when I am feeding the hungry and meeting the needs of the poor and the orphans... I will be loving God, pursuing God, and answering His call by doing those things. I will both spend time with God in the secret place, in His Word and in prayer, and I will be loving Him by doing the things He has called me to. It's the same as right now, in college, I can love Him in my quiet times, and in my homework and classes. There doesn't have to be a distinction.

5:39 PM  |  

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Comments (1)

Blogger Leah wrote:

I really like point that you made about the greatest commandment being loving the Lord with all of your heart and also loving your neighbor. I had not thought of it that way before. Thanks for the insights, Sarah. :)

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