Mark Hatfield tells of touring Calcutta with Mother Teresa and visiting the so-called “House of Dying,” where sick children are cared for in their last days, and the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention.
Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people, feeding and nursing those left by others to die, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers face daily. “How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?” he asked. Mother Teresa replied, “My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful.” (Beyond Hunger, Art Beals).
As people of God, we are called to and from many things. In Matthew 11:28 we are called from labor to rest. In 1 Corinthians 1:9 we are called to fellowship with Christ. In 1 Corinthians 7:15 we are called from bondage into peace. In Galatians 3:26 we are called to be the children of God.
Both as individuals and as the church we are called by God with a purpose. As individuals we might be called to be God’s mouthpiece or His hands or His feet. As the church we are called to service both to God and to each other. In all cases we are called as believers to make a difference.
In Ephesians 4:1-3, the Apostle Paul gives direction saying, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Some have been called for one purpose, others have been called for another, but in the end, just like Mother Teresa, we are called to faithfulness. We are called to have willing hearts and eager spirits in service to God for the benefit of His kingdom and we are called to be relentless in our efforts to bring the Good News to all people in word and action.
Peter also gives guidance toward this goal when he says in 2 Peter 1:10 to “Be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” Its one thing to understand your calling, it’s something entirely different to act on it. Without commitment to the call there will be little change in what you have been called to do.
Before we were ever born, God had out callings set. With this He gave each person unique gifts to work in tandem with others toward the same goals. To some He gave the ability to work well with their hands, to others He gave the gift of teaching. Others were given gifts to communicate effectively while still others were given the ability to work successfully behind the scenes. Each person is called to their own unique place so that the work of God might be accomplished. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Unfortunately, in this fallen world there will always be those who use their gifts only to serve their own selfish desires. They will forsake God’s plans for them by declaring themselves to be their own gods. Often this leads to evil intent and lawlessness. For those who choose this course of action there is only despair should they fail to correct their ways.
But there will always be the faithful who, like Mother Teresa, follow their calling to be faithful with whatever gifts they have been given. For all of time there will be a remnant who remain dedicated to God and devoted to their calling. These are the people who will make the greatest kingdom difference because they have chosen to get their direction through godliness.
To whom do you belong and to who’s calling do you answer to? Have you chosen to follow the Most High, or have you decided to first serve yourself? It’s a choice we are asked to make every day, to be faithful to the calling we have received from God or to the calling we have given ourselves. Where do you stand?
I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Be faithful as Christ has been faithful and carry out what you have been called to do even to death. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for calling us to greater things and forgive us when we have become lost in the world, calling ourselves to the lesser. Guide us to serve you in ways that use our gifts to their greatest effectiveness and help us to remain faithful to the task. Amen.