Oswald Chambers said today, ‘Beware of the competing calls.’
I have always been stumped by the phrase or question concerning ‘calling”.
This is one of those things that really tripped me up while in college. In fact, I was so caught up with it that I think I missed out. There is for sure a calling to preach.
In hindsight I remember a day while at Lee… I was in Old Testament Survey with Jerome Boone. I was sitting in the second row on the left side of the room. I recall DV sitting on the window side of the table. As Boone got started, it was as if the Holy Spirit said, ‘read Romans 10:13-17. I’ll never forget that moment. I opened my Bible and read it… not knowing what I was going to find once I began reading. I read it and I froze… I shut my Bible and kept what I read to myself. I wrote Romans 10:13-17 on the outside of my Old Testament notebook. I was afraid. And I was telling God I can’t do that… that’s not me. I eventually went to Bill George with this trying to find out what God really meant by this. But God had already spoken… I was too afraid to act. I was stuck in a moment I couldn’t get out of.
Scroggins asked last night, “Do you guys find it difficult to minister in your hometown?” (or something like that) It was after I moved away from here that I finally dealt with those verses. I have always “back-doored” God. I have always snuck in the back door hoping that no one would notice me and when they did that they would accept me. I guess that is my way of getting around the commitment (maybe?). At least it would be easier to deal with failure if I didn’t live up to the “calling” and it would be easier to deal with rejection in the sight of others. Besides who would have noticed me walk in? I had it all figured out. Until last night.
But you know what? It’s not any easier. Do I find it difficult to serve God here? Not harder to serve Him, love Him, etc. For me the question is, “How am I supposed to serve Him now?” What does that look like? In what capacity? Starting, leading, supporting, following, being a grunt for Jesus while serving others, or driving a van pulling a trailer with Even Adam’s gear in the back pastoring on the road? It’s probably all of the above!
So what am I afraid of? Why will I not get out there and go to work in His field? A pastor of mine once put it like this – why will I not, “Get on the truck!”? I began to tell you after dropping off Scroggins that I can relate to what Tim was saying last Sunday about God’s provision for himself and family while in Seminary. I was there. I experienced the miraculous provision of God… I was also tearful when Tim mentioned his experience this past Sunday morning. You see, Seminary is much more than studies and gaining more knowledge. It’s about calling. It’s about faith. It’s about faith being tested which is much more than the mind being tested. Yet what am I doing today? Did God waste His resources on me? Is there still work left for me to do? Am I living in disobedience? Who wants to follow a guy whose been married three times? Shoot I can’t even keep my family together – how can I keep together the family of God? These are all questions that resonate within my heart, mind, and Soul. Thus the competition of the call.
Just as I talked to you last night about temptation and condemnation which leads to separation from GOD and separation from HIS PEACE….we can’t live without His peace. I don’t ever want to go back there again.
After Peter denied Jesus three times he couldn’t live with the condemnation. Thank God Jesus got to Peter and brought forth restoration. Who knows where Peter’s separation would have led him? He could have ended like Judas after he turned Jesus over. We could all end up like Judas – Thank God for his grace, love, and compassion to draw us to himself when we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!!! There’s nothing like forgiveness. There’s nothing like proclaiming his forgiveness. There’s nothing like seeing someone forgiven!!!
Yet the question of calling… the question of working for God in this town is all so concerning for me. Thanks to Chambers… thanks to Scroggins for raising the questions. Thanks to God for keeping the questions alive in my soul!!
Michael said this the last Sunday he gave a talk… “We need people making Carpet working for Jesus”. May not be an exact quote but the statement itself penetrated my soul… has gotten into my heart and mind. Which has led me to thinking about this very same subject that I am writing about today.
So what is the call? Are there competing calls in my life? The competition of the call is found in the fight between God Himself and Satan. Whose voice is it that I am going to follow? I can make it in the carpet biz. I can develop a career there… a good career. Yet, I do not like waking up on a Saturday morning like I did today dealing with issues from the week that pertain to work… that pertain to leading people… leading people for what? But to be better employees? To be better parents maybe? To be better spouses? Right now I am looking at this… It’s so hard to motivate people to do their job and to do a good job at it. I have got to find another avenue that I can reach these people that work for me. The restraints that are on me and the way I can communicate to them are somewhat limited.
This is the competing call as I see it: Follow God and preach the Good News or stay where I am and peck away at people trying to get them to do better for themselves in the midst of their jobs. (Right now with a few of my employees this is so so hard… and all they want to do is fight with me… I can’t stand it.) One of these pays the bills the other doesn’t. But having said this I am hopeful that God is at work and I am in the midst of all that is around me. And all of this is going to work out for His glory and honor…
In the Name of Jesus