The “calling”, is, in the true New Testament sense, the fiercest attack and assault to be launched against the world since primitive Christianity. Now a man takes up his position against the world in the world; the calling is the place in which the call of Christ is answered, the place at which the man lives responsibly. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Ethics
There is a lot that has been said about living a “calling”. Your calling is more than just a job, or vocation. It goes way deeper than that. When you take your calling seriously it can become more like a God given quest.
I can’t think of the idea of a quest without thinking of the old movie “Monty Python and The Holy Grail”. That is what a sacred quest should look like in my opinion. The scene with the shrivelled old man asking Sir Robin; “What is your name? What is your quest? What is the capitol of Assyria?” gives me the giggles every time. But the point here is that a scared quest, or a mission from God (that phrase reminds me of another movie; “Blues Brothers” with Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, “We’re on a mission from God.”) even when taken on by a band of hapless knights or blues singing ex-cons is somehow bigger than anything you could define simply as a “job”.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer rightly points out above that it is only when you take your calling seriously that you can really begin to make an impact in the world. The Christ Follower is called to remain and live counter culturally; to love enemies, to defend the weak, to work for justice. This is a position that is clearly against the world and the messages we receive from the media everyday; get ahead and look out for number one and don’t give a second thought to those who can’t hack it in the real world. Part of our call then, is to learn to live our counter cultural vision of the Kingdom of Heaven in enemy occupied territory.
It’s also interesting that Bonhoeffer makes the distinction that it is through the calling that man lives responsibly. You can ignore your calling, you can do what is “practical” instead of what God has placed on your heart to do, but that’s just irresponsible and at the end of the day you likely won’t be happy.
I’ve tried to ignore my calling.
Back in 2007 I was working, quite happily, for a small business. By all accounts I was doing a good job and making a difference, my boss liked me and so did my co-workers and my clients, but I started to feel a slight pull from God in a new direction. At first I ignored it. But the pull got stronger, the industry we were working in tanked, I started to lose money, stress mounted and the strain on my marriage became almost too much to bear, (there is a whole series of posts in that by the way, God showed up through my poverty and desperation to save my life and my marriage, but that’s for another time). Through it all the “still small voice” of God kept nudging me in a new direction.
Finally in the summer of 2011, on July 1 at about 10:30 pm to be exact, I made the leap. For my Canadian readers you will recognize that as Canada Day, our national founding holiday.
My wife’s father had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and she had come to Ottawa for a visit. It was becoming apparent that someone needed to be here to help take care of him as his condition continued to deteriorate. We had been having a lot of heated discussions about that; it was hard for me to leave a career I had worked so long and hard to build, even if it wasn’t what it used to be. Anyway, by July I had been home alone for about two weeks, the bills were mounting and we were behind on the rent. After watching a movie on TV I decided to go for a walk, as I walked through the streets on a warm summer evening, fireworks booming off in the distance, I recommitted my life to the call of Christ. When I got home I called my wife and told her “I’m in.” But I had been resisting for so long that she didn’t believe me at first, after she came home and we continued to talk about it we began to make plans. I quit my job in the first week of August and on October 1, 2011, we moved.
At 39, I changed everything about my life for the sake of my family and the call of Christ. I started work as Financial Advisor on October 17, 2011 and have been fulfilling my new call; “to help people reconcile their relationship with God and money”, ever since.
For more on were my head was at during that time check out the post I wrote on my last day at my old job… Turning the Page.
So what’s your calling? Don’t be afraid to go on a quest for God. Who knows maybe he’ll even provide you with a few minstrels to serenade you on your way, just don’t eat them…