I (Amber) had a conversation with one of my interns a few weeks ago that really helped me understand a few things about obedience to God, what following him requires, and what that looks like. My intern asked me if I thought that Matthew was being obedient to “the call” on his life by coming out here to BC so that I could take my job with the OMEGA Program at Summit Pacific College (SPC). It took more conversation and mulling over before it clicked for me that as believers, as Christians, our “call” is to obedience.
I spend my days surrounded by young adults here at SPC who are trying to figure out the next steps in their lives. Often conversations revolve around the idea of “calling”. What is meant by that word, in my particular context is, the “unique purpose that God has put me on the planet for”.
As I have gained experience and years (33 years old now, you know!), my understanding of my unique purpose has developed and morphed, but perhaps more importantly, my tight grip on that understanding has loosened. I remember emerging from college back in 2006 being very definitive about the fact that God had “called” me to Leadership Development in a cross-cultural context. What I didn’t realize at the time was that this understanding was a lens through which I viewed all ministry and opportunity. It was a bench mark, a line or goal that needed to be hit. If whatever I was putting my hand to didn’t fall under the category of Leadership Development in a cross-cultural context, I viewed it as less. Less worthy of my energy, my time and, if I’m brutally honest, my best.
My lens actually distorted the incredible things that God was asking me to be a part of. I robbed myself of joy and fulfillment because if it wasn’t leadership development then it didn’t really have value. The reality is God was asking me to be obedient – that’s it, that’s all.
Now let me say that I believe that God does give people gifts, talents, skills, and abilities that He wants us to use. I think what I’ve misunderstood over the years is that when God asks us to do something that doesn’t use our particular skill set, it doesn’t mean that somehow it’s worth any less, is not as meaningful, or somehow doesn’t “fulfill the call of God” on my life.
If our only “call” is to obedience and we recognize that, I think that understanding will revolutionize the way we feel, engage, and live out what God puts in our hands for today. It takes away the lens of things being less somehow when they don’t fit our very limited understanding of “calling”.
1 John 2:3-6 says that knowing God in a true and intimate way is evidenced in our lives by obedience. I want to know God. Therefore I must be obedient. John goes on to say that obedience is accomplished by living how Jesus lived.
So I ask you, what lens have you been viewing life, ministry, and relationship through?