One Faith, Innumerable Callings

Someone recently suggested I write about what it looks like in daily practice to live faithfully in Christ. My response was, “I would, but faithfulness to Jesus can be expressed in about three million different ways, and I’m skeptical I could find the time to describe each and every one!” Don’t get me wrong—there are elements of Christian obedience that characterize every believer’s life. A faithful pursuit of Jesus should always involve ongoing repentance, drawing near to God by means of prayer and meditation on his Word, and being connected to a local community of faith. However, as Paul once pointed out (1 Corinthians 7:17), God has placed a unique calling on every believer’s life, and the fleshing out of one person’s calling will look quite different from another’s.

Ben, a friend of mine, is a chemical engineer, a husband, and a father. The Lord currently calls Ben to demonstrate his love for Christ by performing his engineering duties with excellence, loving his wife like Jesus loves the church, and demonstrating the character of God to his children. Katie, another friend of mine, is currently the wife of a church planter and a stay-at-home mom of toddlers. The Lord presently calls Katie to make much of Jesus by serving alongside her husband in his ministry and raising her children in such a way that they will know who God is and, by his grace, one day respond to the gospel in faith. My friend Logan is a single, twenty-eight year old barista at Starbucks who is finishing up his master’s in Christian counseling. At this point in his life, the Lord calls Logan to be a light for Christ among his coworkers and to be diligent in his studies so that, in the near future, he can effectively counsel those whose lives have been ransacked by the brokenness of this world.

I have not comprehensively detailed God’s callings on the lives of Ben, Katie, and Logan. Yet you can see, even from this limited description, the daily expressions of their faith in Christ look almost nothing alike. Yes—they each embrace repentance, belong to a local church, and regularly fellowship with God. And yes—each of their different-looking lives is fueled by a common faith, hope, and love. But their practical obedience fleshes out in a unique way as they each endeavor to live faithfully within the particular roles to which God has called them.

However, some of us do not have roles that are as clearly defined as Ben’s, Katie’s, and Logan’s. I, for example, am not a father, husband, or student—nor do I have a regular 9-5 job. Back when I worked in the fitness industry, I understood God had called me to perform my job duties to the best of my ability and minister the gospel to my personal training clients. But now, as a full-time writer, things aren’t as clear-cut. Though I know I am to strive to produce quality content that makes much of Christ and benefits my readers, it was difficult when I transitioned into this new vocation to determine what God’s calling on my life was beyond the keyboard. My work is not relational in nature, and my life outside of work is void of defined roles.

I soon realized, though, that God has given me two precious gifts in my new lifestyle: time and freedom. The flexibility of my self-employed schedule combined with my freedom from marital and parental responsibilities enables me to labor in the work of the Kingdom in ways that many believers are unable because of their time-consuming callings. I am, as Paul once wrote, able to “secure [my] undivided devotion to the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:35).

Practically, this has looked like setting up for services every Sunday, participating in multiple Bible studies, designating multiple evenings a week to spend time with other believers or unbelieving friends I am trying to win to Christ, cooking lunch for and befriending the homeless in my community, helping my pastor with miscellaneous things, and more. It has taken some thought, creativity, and exploration of my gifting, but I have been able to discover my calling in this season of life despite not having it clearly defined for me by particular roles or circumstances.

If you are someone who doesn’t have clearly defined roles by which you can decipher God’s present calling on your life, and if you have been blessed with the gifts of time and freedom, my advice to you is twofold. Firstly, don’t try to mimic someone else’s calling. Discover your own. Secondly, it will most likely be in the context of your local community of faith that you unearth your calling. Inquire about the needs of your church and how you can serve to meet them. Ask your pastors or leaders to help you determine your gifts and discover in what capacities you are most effective for the work of the Kingdom. A wide-open life that lacks clearly defined roles is not some affliction over which you should despair; it is an incredible blessing that, if utilized, will allow you to labor heartily for the Kingdom in unique and impactful ways.

“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” – 1 Corinthians 7:17

  • Lyle Nelson

    Because every one of us is a totally unique person, it should be no surprise that the way we relate to and serve God will look at least a bit different than anyone else’s, although as Matt explained, there are some elements in common, such as church membership.

    Also, I believe that God is a God of the unexpected. He may give us opportunities to serve in ways that we aren’t expecting and don’t even feel qualified for. That has happened to me via an Internet request from someone halfway across the country whom I did not know, and who had seen a comment I made online and was in need of advice and guidance regarding a situation in his church. By the grace of God, the situation turned out well. However, before receiving that request, there was no way I would have considered that my “calling”. But I had a strong conviction that God wanted me to become involved in the situation, so I did. That led to further unexpected ministry opportunities. I believe the moral of this story is: Don’t put God in a box and only respond to the opportunities you expect, but be prepared for the possibility of Him surprising you with something that you least expect!

    • Regan DuCasse

      This is what doesn’t track: as I’ve mentioned so many times, our diversity is our strength. It’s beautiful and awe inspiring.
      Sexual orientation, is still getting a bad rap as non existent as a biological and genetic part of all human life, but homosexuality especially.
      With the continual debating anti gay heterosexuals of either religious or social conservative ideals or both, they and some on the comment threads here, deny the facts and evidence that gay people are as innocent of their sexual origins as heterosexuals are.
      And that homosexuality can be channeled into commitment and responsibility as much as heterosexuality can be and is supported as an endeavor.
      What absolutely no one, especially the religious are willing to own or adapt, is that religious disciplines against developing one’s gay orientation into enduring romantic relationships, hasn’t been as healthy, and sustaining as it’s touted to be.
      Especially to the very young, who witness their peer’s burgeoning relationships all around them, but what is within their emotional and physical need, is required to be repressed and excluded.
      And with that, several of the writers here admit to having looked for love in all the wrong places, or perhaps just found themselves so adrift because of the negative messaging that’s bombarded them from the outset.

      Now, mental and social reality does NOT track with what’s common and I’m seeing continued assertions that God and Christ are THE optimal path and substitute to that reality.
      Lyle, right here is a mixed message of a certain amount of acceptable diversity, but a limit on how to respond to it.
      What is targeted of course, the main interest being, is treating homosexuality as if an unhealthy reality of one’s being, and navigating it with religious discipline.
      There IS no surprise there, really.
      I have little expectations from those here supportive of Matt Moore.

      It’s important to note that human beings must and have adapted to an enormous amount of things in our human experience.
      The less people adapt to the reality of what sexual orientation is, and allow for the natural and diverse aspects that it is in equal course, that is where the truth is.
      I’ve had a week of some very serious examination of the kind of mindset, I think several people here use religion to be shielded from.
      You can explain it to me.
      But the ministry spoken of here, is getting more and more hard pressed to use intangibles against a rising tide of people who know better than they are given credit for.

      • AnotherMike

        Hi Regan,

        Having a moment of free time to read and respond. Diversity is a strength but that is strength on the horizontal plain. The horizontal strength is still a weakness because everyone (followers and non-followers of Christ) are all sinners and everything we do is corrupt. Despite and because of this corruption, followers of Christ pray for and rely upon his strength and his finished work as we seek to please him just as a child seeks to please his or her parents, out of love.
        ——
        Sexual orientation is a cultural subject created by man to give a reason for doing the opposite of what was established in the beginning at creation and reflected in the natural world. Historically, societies have followed and even today some societies follow the natural order of population growth and stabilization and it was (and remains today) man’s corrupt (sinful) nature that seeks to create class distinctions.
        ——
        Please bear with me on the below. On the horizontal plain we can create arguments about homosexuality vs heterosexuality but on the vertical plain there is either holiness (righteousness) or unholiness (unrighteousness). For anyone who does not follow Christ, the argument is only on the horizontal plain because they cannot fathom, much less understand, the vertical plain. To them it simply does not compute or exist so what is the purpose of discussing it. For those who follow Christ, the opposite of heterosexuality is not homosexuality, it is holiness; the opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, it is holiness.

        It does not matter if a person’s sexual interest is toward someone of the opposite sex or the same sex, it is what we do with our interest that is of partial concern. Another area of concern is when the sexual interest leads to sexual behavior that does not align with dictates established at the time of creation and reiterated by Jesus, himself.
        ——
        I must bypass the mental and social aspects because to discuss it alone is to remain trapped in the ‘trappings’ (no pun intended) of the world (horizontal plain).

        All people who are earnest followers of Christ are so because they follow Christ. As such, this is the basics why they are earnest followers of Christ. They have put their trust in his life (works), death (sacrifice), resurrection (testament to who he is). We know the chief (main) purpose of man is to worship and glorify God. We also know that our situation before God is not good IF we have to stand alone before God to answer for all the deeds we have done in this life. The situation is all of us are guilty of innumerable offenses (crimes) against our Creator and guilty people must suffer punishment to answer for their crimes. This is justice.

        After this life, we all will face our Creator so the question is what can we expect based upon what is described? We can all expect to receive punishment, thereby meeting His justice. The reason for this absolute on Justice is because God is Holy and by that I mean He is the standard by which we are to live, and that standard is perfection to His standards. And as we can all attest, no one living and walking this planet is perfect to His standards. He does not tolerate sin.

        Additionally, God is loving. It is his love that is what gives us all a means to escape the Justice of God which is required by His Holiness. This escape is our salvation because you cannot be saved from something without an antecedent and the antecedent if Christ Jesus. It is in love that God will grant forgiveness (granting mercy to or a pardon to, per se) us for all our innumerable offenses when we humble ourselves before Him, turning away from the offenses we committed, admitting we are wrong, and admitting that He is right through the only means He has provided. Therefore, we repent of our sins (offenses) toward God and follow Christ Jesus as he is the only means given to us by which we are saved.

        Our concern is not for the wrongness we see around us and wrongness we continue to do (though we strive to do less and less each day); our concern is the fact that we want to bring everyone around us to the salvation that is freely offered to us through Christ alone. We do this because we know what awaits each of us and at the end of the day there is only one question that must be answered to determine where you will end. Did you really accept Christ as your Lord and Savior for the forgiveness of your sins (offenses) before a Holy, Just, Loving, and Righteous God or did you reject him?

        This is the direction and dialog of each person who has accepted Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior and the commission of each of us while we draw breath. Most will look at us as intolerant bigots because we will not bow down, accept, and embrace (and potentially promote) what the world at large wants us to think and act. We answer not to men, but to our Creator. To do otherwise is to enter what we see as madness.

        • Regan DuCasse

          It’s religion that is a cultural subject, created by man to give reason for expanding their understanding of a sentient being or more, that gave life to our world. It’s a cultural subject, that’s immersed mankind in horrendous conflict for centuries and still does.
          The need for spiritual growth, with social accountability is a very human need and expectation, but also, requires expansion and growth as knowledge and experience grows also.
          Sexual orientation is a genetic, biologically necessary part of our human make up. It is universal to all human life and history.
          Is not influenced by culture, so your statement is a false one. Not to be argued as a matter of truth.
          Nor can it be argued that homosexuality has and must be singled out as unholy, with the only referral being ancient cultures whose ideals about gender deserve to be questioned also. And have also proven to be very misjudged.
          Anti gay sentiment, as an extension of misogyny, is an accurate one.
          It’s not a false, nor unprovable premise.
          The distinct types of sexual orientation are only distinct as gender based attraction, or no sexual attraction at all.
          Making homosexuality entirely negative, or anti social, and weighted with a host of negatives, is also a damaging, unrealistic cultural construct with no basis in actual science, or empirical experience.

          The negative and false labeling, is persistent, and that it’s couched in religious text, doesn’t make it right to do so.
          You say it’s not part of God’s plan, when considering that we’re diverse in so many ways, and there is a distinct MORAL difference between what is anti social behavior and what is not, using a centuries old reference, when modern technology and medical and psychological advancements have proven those references wrong.
          As other religious taboos have been proven to not be so negative, but beneficial also.
          Religious intractability, is it’s own worst enemy, as it’s proven to be the enemy of civil discourse, and human understanding as well.
          Jesus didn’t say anything specific about homosexuality, or what people used to refer to it, in their time.

          You took all that time to tell me your opinion, but some of what you’ve said, isn’t accurate, let alone correct or right.
          Not among those who have taken the steps to learn otherwise.
          And what we know, can’t be unlearned. And shouldn’t be.
          Gay people having to live down the ignorant opinions of misogynist and simple cultures, to address more complex human behaviors and relationships, hasn’t helped them or anyone, really.
          Time that truth got dealt with. It’s long past overdue.

          As we speak there are a few states working to ban reparative therapy. It should be something banned in the entire of the US.
          I was wondering about asking opinions here on that.
          But all things considered, I can pretty well guess what’s going to be said.