Few things stir my heart more than the concept of calling. Why? Well…if I am honest, the answer is self-incriminating. When I think of a calling, I consider what my life is about. What is the significance of my time here on earth and what is my contribution to the world? Now, these are not bad questions to answer, but we need to be careful with the answer. Here’s why. I see two options. One is to answer them according to the American dream, the second is according to the faith I have professed in Jesus Christ.
When I answer my calling with respect to the American Dream, I begin to think about all sorts of possibilities. I think of people like Henry Ford and John D. Rockefeller. They are stand-outs among the fabricators and heroes of the American Dream. Their motto; anything is possible and everything is probable. Heck, I could even be President! It just requires persistence and hard work. Our dreams are within reach. So, how do I define my calling as an American? Unfortunately, much of my life has been marked by the shallow and self-serving answer of “success.”
The narrative changes, however, when we choose to follow Jesus. In Philippians 1:27, Paul reminds us to “let our lives be worthy of the Gospel of Christ.” In this simple statement, Paul clarifies that Jesus’ calling is not my own. Instead, Paul exhorts me to live the life to which God is calling me to. Paul is talking about the life that God created us for. What is the difference between these two lives? A handful of verses bring me clarity.
[Serve] the Lord with all humility and with tears (Acts 20:19 ESV)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3 ESV)
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another (Colossians 3:12-13 ESV)
have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (1 Peter 3:8 ESV)
Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another (1 Peter 5:5 ESV)
As I read through these verses, there is one word that appears and repeats in my head, tying them all together. It is the thing missing from my narrative. It is replaced with turmoil in our daily lives, as we chase the American dream. It is why Jesus died for us. It has eternal significance and, it will ensure our joy-filled life. What is it? What does Jesus call us to? LOVE.