What is Calling?

An excellent speech at the 2008 Following Christ conference about the subject of calling:

An excerpt to whet your appetite, and keep reading (I will!):

Answering the question, “What is Calling?” is also to realize what calling is not. Consider two metaphors.

First, calling as a game of hide and seek.

There are sincere people who believe, sincerely, that there’s one right vocation, one thing you’re supposed to do, one perfect mate and no other, one right graduate program or postdoc or academic post, and so on. And God is hiding one or more of these from you. Our job is to discover them, then act on that discovery by appropriating them, and then God will be pleased with us.

Here are just a couple of the problems with this first metaphor.

Agape: this doesn’t seem like the God of the Bible. Would a God who died on the Cross for us play this sort of game?
The matter of small things: “Who despises the day of small things?” Zechariah asked (4:10). Or Bonhoeffer in Life Together: “Only he who gives thanks for little things receives the big things.” Our daily choices regarding small things when multiplied culminate in much larger outcomes. Thus, rather than focusing too much on the big question, “am I called to the academy?,” this next semester seek to do well on one paper, or project, or experiment—and then see what happens. Like marriage, rather than obsessing about Miss or Mister Right, would it not be better to work first on becoming a good friend?
As an antidote to the game of hide and seek, ponder: If we’re in the will of God, does whatever we choose become the will of God for our lives?


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