Most of us are engaged in various types of work usually described as vocation, job, profession, career, occupation like dressmaking, teaching, pharmacy, law, medicine, agriculture, painting, shoemaking, carpentry, military etc. These are what we have been trained to do for the purpose of earning a living. People choose to do whatever they like, sometimes with the advice of parents, counsellors or peers. Some of these occupations demand many years of serious training in the university.
The big question is: what has God planned that you would do for Him in your lifetime? Is it that your vocation? In other words, is that your calling? In this context, a calling may be defined as God’s personal, individual invitation to carry out the unique task He has for you. This calling is your true purpose in life.
Discovering God’s call for your life is crucial. It is not just like choosing a career or profession. You do not choose or decide your call, which is divinely determined. However, your call may be closely connected to your career or business, or may not be connected, in any way. Definitely, a job is not the same as a calling. Let us remind ourselves of some Bible characters who were fishermen, farmers, physicians, shepherds, tax administrators, lawyers, carpenters, etc whose calling departed remarkably from what they chose as their vocation. Undoubtedly, these people were providing essential services but they were destined to do something else, in order to fulfil their calling. Some people, at one time or the other, change their jobs. This is because the job is not a calling.
Your work will help you to carry out your calling by developing you and providing material and financial benefits. For example, the life purpose of Moses was to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. That was why God preserved his life, even from birth. All the services he rendered in Pharaoh’s palace and even the years he took care of the sheep of his father-in-law, Jethro, were only preparing him for his calling. As a matter of fact, the unique role he was expected to play did not manifest until he was eighty years old.
You may be called in the area of your vocation. If that happens, there must be a demonstration of special gifts and abilities to fulfil that calling. I know some talented musicians who were famous in worldly music but their music changed to Christian songs when they experienced spiritual transformation. It was then that their music pleased God.
In Exodus 31, when artisans were needed to do delicate and highly skilled work in the temple building, God called only two of them for that purpose, which no other person could have achieved. Verse 3 says, “I have filled him (Bezalel) with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold, in silver, in bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of workmanship.” God also appointed and anointed Aholiab to work with Bezalel. This shows that skills of people are important to God. Discover and develop whatever skill you have. Don’t neglect it or envy other people with different skills. As we use our talents and gifts, God reveals our calling gradually over the years. When you discover it, carry it out passionately and creatively. Bezalel and Aholiab were already trained artisans but became extraordinary and excellent when their services were specially needed.
You may not be called to perform pastoral functions but God requires your services in other areas of your ability. Out of hundreds of artisans hanging around for the work in the temple, God selected only Bezalel and Aholiab for this sophisticated work. He called them and equipped them. Definitely, Bezalel and Aholiab could not have executed that masterpiece on their own. That was why God anointed them. If you truly respond to your calling, you cannot do it on your own, but by the Spirit of God. The call is always more than you can fulfil on your own.
When God calls you, you think you are unworthy and incapable. Don’t worry. Just remember how the following people felt when they were called: Gideon, Timothy, Jeremiah, Moses, Isaiah, Peter, and so on. As a matter of fact, they were not capable of carrying out their assignments without the power of God.
Many people may be unknowingly responding to their calls in their routine work. That is why you should endeavour to perform well, whatever your responsibility or assignment may be. Colossians 3:23-25 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” This should be everyone’s philosophy for work. We should take our business as service to God and not to man. As an employee, you are working for God and not your so-called employer. If you serve Him well, you will be rewarded accordingly. On the other hand, you will suffer, if you fail to serve well.
The call of God is for everyone. But not everyone is responding. Therefore, they are not chosen. “Many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). God’s calling demands personal relationship with Him.