by Matt Sapp

As the kids get settled back into school, many of us shift into planning and calendaring modes and begin to look at where the coming year might lead.

As many of us look ahead, it’s a good season to think about calling. What is God’s purpose for me this year? How can I use where God has placed me today to do the work that God intends for me now?

It’s easy to think of God-given calling only in terms of vocational ministry; but God calls each of us to service even in secular vocations. Martin Luther famously said, “The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”

Living into our calling is about approaching the work God gives us with excellence and treating others we meet in the course of our work with Christian dignity, generosity, and justice.

So here are three things to remember about your calling this fall.

All Are Called
God’s claim on the human life is universal, and God’s claim on your life is total. You are God’s creation. Created in God’s image, you belong to God in a way far more intimate than even the way an artist’s masterpiece belongs to the painter or the career-defining poem to the poet. But in a similar way to the painting or the poem, you belong not only to the one who created you, but also to the world for which you were created and with which you have been shared. In more ways than one, you are not your own.

That is your calling: to be that which God created you to be in the world in which God has placed you. If you are that—no more, no less—you will accomplish what the Creator intended when God shared you with the world, just as the perfect piece of art does.

Imagine your life as an artist’s work in progress. Then imagine that God continues not just to create you, but that God continues to create through you as others encounter God’s work in you, and you will get a sense of the magnitude of your calling.

Finding Our Callings Isn’t Mysterious
God leads us all, and God leads most of us rather clearly, I think.  Frederick Buechner writes, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.“ Finding your calling can be as simple as following God through open doors and accepting closed doors for what they are.

Usually the right next step toward calling is apparent. Calling presents itself where giftedness, experience, opportunity, passion, and, yes, the needs of the community intersect.

The next right step toward calling might not lead down the path toward which you were previously aiming. You might not be able to see as far ahead as you would like. The next right step might take great courage. But usually the next right step is clear.

You’re Never Too Old or Too Young to Follow Your Calling
Calling can be pursued from a front yard lemonade stand, and it can be chased down in an assisted living facility. God has a planned trajectory for each of our lives. The specifics of our callings might change over time, but the presence of God’s intention for our lives is constant.

You have been called. God has a purpose for you now. How will you follow God’s call today?

See you Sunday.