Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What is your Calling?

What is your calling?  How did you receive your calling?  If you look in the Hebrew Bible, more often than not, when God called, the people at first said -- send someone else.  Moses said -- I can't speak well, so God said -- take along Aaron, he can talk for you.  Jonah receives the call and runs the other way.  Jeremiah said -- I'm but a boy.  In every case God seems to have an answer to the attempt to put off the call.

But how does a call come?  I didn't hear an audible voice, but I think I knew from early on a direction (though I framed it differently than time would reveal).  I can say with some surety that when I decided to pursue the M.Div. and ordination I didn't have parish ministry in mind.  I was going to be a theological educator.  That was my calling!  And yet, here I am, in my 26th year of ordination and in my 13th year as pastor of a congregation. 

All of this leads to my sharing of a video of Martin Marty sharing his sense of what it means to receive a call to ministry in the Christian community.  He notes that traditionally it has been assumed that God calls through the community (the church), but in his conversations with people entering ministry, it would be better to say that God calls "through billions of particulars."  I think he may be right.  I invite you to watch, consider, and add your own sense of what it means to be called.  The video comes from the What's Your Calling? -- a movement/organization inspired by a PBS miniseries -- The Calling


2 comments:

Brian said...

I'll give the brief version.

At 16 I knew I was called.

I fought like the Dickens to NOT be a minister.

The gnawing feeling never went away. I tried to "honor" it by being a social worker and working with the "least of these".

Finally, at 32 (16 years later) I said "yes" and went to seminary.

I knew I wanted to be a health care chaplain, but decided to give parish ministry an honest try. I did 3 years of it, which simply affirmed my call to health care ministry. Doors opened up for me that were truly of God.

While there are ups and downs, I've never regretted honoring the call. My only regret is that I didn't honor the call earlier. BUT there are advantages to being a second career pastor. I know what it is like to sit in the pews as an adult with a full time job.

Brian said...

I forgot an important point. My call was nurtured through involvement in regional youth activities. Without that, I don't know what my life would look like today.

Regional ministry gets overlooked a lot, but it is very important!