The Question of Calling


The Question of Calling

January 7

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints?” (Eph 1:18-19).

I walked up to the man and said, "Hello, my name is Os. What’s yours?" His name was also Os – Os Guinness. It was the first time he had ever had such an experience. We chuckled about our unique names.

Os Guinness was named after Oswald Chambers. He has become a well-known contemporary writer and has a real interest in the subject of "calling" just as I do. He has written a masterful work entitled, "The Call." In it he shares some important truths about "calling".

"What do I mean by ‘calling’? For the moment, let me say simply that "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 and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.

There is a distinction between a later, special calling and our original, ordinary calling. Selfishness prefers the first, but stewardship respects both. A special calling refers those tasks and missions laid on individuals through a direct, specific, supernatural communication from God. Ordinary calling, on the other hand, is the believer’s sense of life-purpose and life-task in response to God’s primary call, ‘follow me,’ even when there is no direct, specific, supernatural communication from God about a secondary calling.

In other words, ordinary calling can be seen in our responsibility to exercise a high degree of ‘capitalist-style’ enterprise about how we live our lives. For example, the servants in Jesus’ parable for the talents and pounds were assessed according to how they ‘got on with it’ when the master was away. In this sense no follower of Christ is without a calling, for we all have an original calling even if we do not all have a later, special calling. And, of course, some people have both."*

We are all called to Someone first, then something. As we grow in our knowledge and obedience to Christ, God fulfills our calling in life.

*Os Guinness, The Call, Word Books, Nasvhille, TN p. 4, 48 1998

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