Calling

There is a place in the Bible that chronicles the reign of King Hezekiah. Hezekiah is described as a good king, one that kept the standards of King David. He opened the doors of the temple and began some much needed “house cleaning.” Those before him had turned from God. Hezekiah made a covenant with God to “turn history around.” I love that phrase in the Message…turn history around. I believe that’s the kind of people that God has called us to be. We have a calling to be in covenant with God and turn history around if need be.

Too often we think that to turn history around, to make a difference, we have to grow up and BE someone. This is a great misfortune in the church world. So many are absorbed in a wrestling match with what we refer to as “calling.” People strive and strain for it, reaching relentlessly for the goal, as if we can’t possibly change the world without this lofty place of arrival. Yet, so few seem to have hit their target, and even fewer know what they are actually even in pursuit of. The calling has become a mysterious mirage in this life of endless desert places. It shows up and then disappears as quickly as we think we’ve reached its border. I don’t believe that is what God intended.

Romans 8:28 tells us that we “have been called according to [God’s] purpose.” Ephesians 2:10 says “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” In this chapter, Paul is explaining how we are alive in Christ, no longer enslaved by sin but given grace to fulfill this calling. It’s not about landing on the platform of some grand place in time. It’s about daily recognizing and executing the good works that God has called us to. Unfortunately, our society does not celebrate little things. It encourages fame and self-promotion. Both things that are contrary to the ways of God. Both things that actually stand in the way of our calling.

The liberating news for you and me is that we are simply called to today. We are just as anointed for cleaning the kitchen, making dinner, parenting, and going to the office as we are to the leadership of ministry or the performance of corporate business. Some days I am solely called to little girls, one that has some sort of sonar to detect the hiding place of permanent markers, one that loves to argue like her father, and one that screams loud enough to break glass when things don’t go her way. On Sundays I’m called to stand in front of people as a leader. Yesterday, I was called to go to the beach…and it was a good day. Today I am called to some tedious church work and the highways of Jacksonville where people, with all the backing of the letter of the law to do otherwise, choose to drive below the speed limit. In this task and many others I must remind myself of my calling, perhaps my time in the car and other works have some remote connection to my tendency toward impatience. Maybe I will never know why God calls me to the things He does. Regardless, God is always doing something in me so that He can do more through me.

I am called to NOW. You are called to NOW. We are anointed for TODAY.

There is a line in the Message that describes King Hezekiah’s campaign to restore the temple. It says, “The priests started from the inside and worked out; they emptied the place of the accumulation of defiling junk” (2 Chronicles 29:17). We are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16) and we are called to start inside and work our way out. There is a lot of junk that keeps us from the good works that God has planned for us. I believe some of that defiling junk is found in our striving to arrive. The Word says that we are to humble ourselves and God will exalt us (James 4:10). Too often, we play God in the story of our lives. We stress to get ahead and all the while junk is piling up in our temple. We’ve focused on the outside arrival instead of the inside cleaning.
Hezekiah says, “this is your life work; make sure you do it and do it well” (2 Chronicles 29:11). I believe God is calling us to do well the little things He’s placed in front of us. When we do so, He not only opens the door for bigger things, He establishes us in them (Luke 16:10). When we clean up our marriage, our parenting, our daily habits, the way we treat our employees, and the way we speak to those around us, then He will exalt us. When we do the exalting, He normally steps in and does the humbling.

Dear God, forgive my bent toward thinking that you are holding out on me. Forgive me when I try to make the dreams and purposes of my heart bow to my time table. Help me be HERE. Help me to do well the little things in front of me today. Take any desires for a famous life out of my heart and replace them with a longing for biblical greatness instead…the greatness of a life that lives in the shadow of Your story.

 

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