Authentic Calling: What is My Purpose?
What is the purpose of your life?
How do you feel when someone asks you that question – what is it you want to do when you Graduate? With the rest of your life?
Where does the pressure come from to find your purpose, your calling, your meaning in life?
Calling & Purpose
“Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service,” Os Guiness.
To call means to address by one’s name, and to address by name means to affirm one's identity.
Thus when God called Israel, he named and thereby constituted and created Israel his people.
What is a Calling?
Defined: Calling is a God-given conviction about your life’s direction.
“Individuals’ calling to partnership with God in which particular gifts are evoked and developed in concert with their discernment of the particular role God has given them to play during a certain period of their lives.” —Richard Robert Osmer
Calling at its deepest level is, “This is something I can’t not do.” —Parker J. Palmer
Call of Abraham
Read - Genesis 12
How did Abraham receive the call that God had put on his life? What was his response?
Call of Moses
Read - Exodus 3
How did Moses receive the call God put on his life? What was his response?
Call of Jonah
Read - Jonah 1
How did Jonah receive the call that God gave him? What was his response?
Comparison of Calling
So often we look toward others, their callings, their careers, their degrees, their passions and their vision for their lives.
At times, this makes us feel disconnected, without vision. Maybe we feel as though we must not have a calling in this life if we do not have the kind of deep passion and conviction as the person next to us.
We might even go so far as to think that we must not have a real relationship with God if we do not have some sense of clear calling and communication from God in our lives.
Timothy Keller on Purpose
Indeed, the very purpose of redemption is to massively and finally restore the material creation (Rev. 21–22). God loves this created world so much that he sent his Son to redeem it. This world is a good in and of itself; it is not just a temporary theater for individual salvation
Key to Calling
The key is that God does not need to part the clouds for you to be called.
All of us, as followers of Christ, as called to be His hands and feet, advocates, for the Kingdom of God.
In fact, all Christians, although we have specific callings to our unique gifting and identities, have three fundamental callings.
Three Callings of All Christians
To bear the image of God. We are here to reflect the Creator into the creation, and to reflect the creation’s praise and lament back to the Creator. To bear the image is to exercise dominion, caring for and cultivating the good world and making it very good through our creative attention. Most human work falls under this heading, which is why Christians work gladly alongside neighbors who don’t share our faith, and also why almost all human work is perfectly appropriate for Christians.
To restore the image of God: Our distinctive calling as Christians is not just to till and keep the world as image bearers, but to actively seek out the places where that image has been lost, to place ourselves at particular risk on behalf of the victims of idolatry and injustice. So in every workplace, Christians should be those who speak up most quickly, and sacrifice their own privileges most readily, for those whose image-bearing has been compromised by that organization’s patterns of neglect.
This image-restoring calling comes with, and requires, a new family: the church. No one can restore the image alone—only a people can do that
To bear the image and to restore the image.
To serve where you are today: You are in some particular place today—maybe at school, maybe on a bus, maybe in a workplace, maybe at home. Each of these geographical locations, each of these roles and titles, is an opportunity for you to fulfill your calling as a Christian. To be a person of love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control.
In this next season of life, you are called to be a student.
Where are opportunities for you to be a person of Chirst-like invitation?
All of our vocations are Christian vocations.
What About Me?
There is one topic that I’m extremely interested in that the writers of Scripture do not seem interested in at all—and that topic is, actually, me.
I am quite interested in the expressive individual that I call me—but Scripture turns out not to be interested in me hardly at all.
It is somewhat more interested in me as a member of a community, connected to one of the “nations” of the earth—but really, what Scripture is interested in is God, God’s mission in the world, God’s commissioning of a people, and God’s gracious invitation to me to stop being so interested in me and start being absolutely fascinated by his mission.
Discerning Your Calling, God’s Gifting
Your vocation is a part of God’s work in the world, and God gives you resources for serving the human community.
These factors can help you identify your calling.
Affinity—“Look out.” Affinity is the normal, existential/priestly way to discern call. What people needs do I vibrate to?
Ability—“Look in.” Ability is the normal, rational/prophetic way to discern call. What am I good at doing?
Opportunity—“Look up.” Opportunity is the normal, organizational/kingly way to discern call. What do the leaders/my friends believe is the most strategic kingdom?