The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life

In his book, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, author Os Guinness takes an in-depth look at what it means to be called of God. I highly recommend the book.

He defines the call of God as “the truth that God calls us to Himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is …lived out as a response to His summons and service.” This calling is at two levels: The first is our primary calling as followers of Christ, and the secondary calling is the daily living out of our personal gifts and abilities in such a way that God is glorified (our vocation).

The challenge, he says, is to keep the two callings together and in the right order. He describes two common mistakes we make concerning the call of God.

The first he labels “the Catholic Distortion.” This distortion proposes a dualism of calling. There is sacred and there is secular service to God. There is a higher versus lower calling; a perfect versus permitted calling; a contemplative versus action calling. There are those in “full-time Christian service” and then there are the rest who have settled for “secular” work.

The second he labels “the Protestant Distortion,” which he thinks is even worse. This view inverts the order of the two callings, elevating the personal at the expense of the primary. Distorting the concept of the “Protestant work ethic,” this perspective dilutes the call of God to having a job. There is no longer a “caller;” there is just the work we do everyday. If God shows up, it is only on Sunday.

Do you tend to separate your “vocation” from your “calling”? When vocation is used to refer exclusively to the clergy, it reflects the Catholic distortion. If vocation is used to refer exclusively to employment and occupation, it reflects the Protestant distortion. You see, calling and vocation are the same words (one Anglo-Saxon and one Latin in origin).

The challenge is to remember that God calls us first to Himself and then to do everything for Him. What would happen in our lives if everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is lived for God? Could it be that there is no greater adventure?

Key Scripture: I Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

Action Point: Do you view your vocation and your calling as one? What one thing could you do today that would help you see everything you do as an opportunity to glorify God?

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