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  • Writer's pictureWatch and Pray

What Does It Mean to Be Called?

Firstly, I think that initially, we believe and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, we are called to turn away from our sins, turn to God and follow His plan for our salvation and life. This is the fundamental condition/requirement for Christian service. "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light;" (1 Peter 2:9). Secondly, we are called to proclaim/preach the message of the gospel and labour in God's vineyard. We have a responsibility to share the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those people within our daily sphere of influence, i.e., our neighbours, people we work with, anyone with whom we come into contact. There are no coincidences involved in the circumstances surrounding the people we meet each day, only opportunities provided by God to “let our lights so shine before men” that they may give glory to our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? even as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that bring glad tidings of good things! But they did not all hearken to the glad tidings. For Isaiah saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So belief cometh of hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:13-17). Thirdly, God made us with an inbuilt need for purpose and has given us gifts for specific service. This is a different calling which involves been called and anointed for specific purpose that comprises the activities listed by Paul in his epistles. The three main passages describing the spiritual gifts are Romans 12:6–8; 1 Corinthians 12:4–11, 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Ephesians 4:11. Examples of these specific calling includes the men and women in the Old and Testament. Amos is a shepherd and a fruit picker from the Judean village of Tekoa when God calls him, even though he lacks an education or a priestly background but then the Lord had called him to prophesy. Amos grounds his authority to preach to the resistant hearers solely on his call. Wanting or even recognising the need or desire to be a pastor requires discerning this carefully, and gaining clarity through prayer, mentoring and maybe even attending bible college. Just because you have a desire to be a Pastor does not mean that God has called you for this commission nor can we negate this desire because it could be that the Holy Spirit has put these desires and thoughts into our heart, it could be that the Holy Spirit is positioning, prodding and pulling us, that's why I said it needs discernment, prayer and so on. It is only the Holy Spirit that will equip us. This is the opposite of the “follow your heart” perspective and “don’t settle for anything less than your dreams” ideology we so often hear in society and even in churches. What’s most important is discerning God’s call. A good example, I came across, was the story of a young man wanting to know if God called him, the elder said: “Son, you’d better know you are called. In the end, your call is all you got. Let me tell you what that means, boy. When they spread rumours about you, when they reject you, when they betray you, when they run you out of town, the only thing that will stand you in good stead will be that you know that you know that you know that you are called. Now go home and pray until you know!” As Christians, we are called to develop the talent and gifts God has given us to use. These gifts will enable us through our lives and allow us to bless others. If we want to fulfil our calling, we must develop our God-given ability. Paul told Timothy to “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit of God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:6-7). And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; ( 1 Timothy1:12) The Bible tells us, “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of you own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16). Being a pastor is a huge responsibility; we dare not play games with the lives of those who were purchased at the high cost of Jesus' blood. As Paul said to the Ephesian elders, "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

The Christian discussions of calling, is God-given. You may feel called, and others may affirm your general direction, but you are not yet fully “called” to a specific pastoral ministry because God in his providence does the decisive work. It is finally God, not man — and God, not self — who gives the call to pastoral office.

  • God the Spirit is the one who “made you overseers” (Acts 20:28).

  • God the Son is the one who “gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (Ephesians 4:11–12).

  • The Lord of the harvest is the one to whom we “pray earnestly . . . to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37–38).

  • God is the one who sends preachers. “How are they to preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:15).

  • God is the master who “will set over his household” faithful and wise managers (Luke 12:42).

  • The Lord Jesus Christ is the one from whom we receive the ministry we are to fulfil (Colossians 4:17).

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