I think too much. By that, I mean that I have the unfortunate habit of over-analyzing God’s calling for me. I complicate the walk in which He leads. I struggle to understand His timing; I strain to see the path ahead. Most of all… I catch myself considering the “why” of His will. I am frequently reminded to listen to the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit, teaching me that my calling is to walk with God.
Don’t get me wrong; God has tasks for us to do. Jesus makes it clear that there is plenty of labor to be done and that we are equipped and empowered to finish the task. When He assures His disciples of the ministry that lies before them, He says,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12 NASB).
But these are works, not callings. Our eyes are drawn to the miracles, aren’t they? Who doesn’t want to be able to heal the sick or raise the dead? Miracles are God’s marketing plan. Our minds are electrified to imagine God’s power poured out. Nevertheless, the real substance of our calling is the act of walking with God.
Only a Christian can begin to comprehend God’s calling. In John 6:44, Jesus said no one can come to Him unless he or she is drawn by the Father. Even among those who had sought Him out in the hills of Galilee, Jesus closed most parables with, “For him who has ears to hear.” We understand because we have been drawn to Jesus and have singled out the Shepherd’s voice from the uproar of this world. The more we focus on His voice, the simpler God’s call becomes.
They Left Their Nets
Imagine what might have occurred if Jesus had given each of His prospective disciples a job description prior to their service. They could expect to see demons cast out and observe the raising of the dead. Healing the lame, the blind and the leprous would be a frequent occurrence. They would all be violently persecuted by the religious elite of Israel. They would witness their leader as He was mocked and crucified. Lastly, most of them could expect to die as martyrs after years of hardship. Would these men have had the courage to accept that kind of calling?
Thank God, we don’t know the entire paths of our walks with Jesus. We only know the God with whom we walk. In reality, Jesus’ invitation to the Disciples was extended in utter simplicity.
“As He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets. Immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.” (Mark 1:16-20 NASB).
It’s easy to agonize over God’s calling. Where am I going? What will I do? Others may be tormented because they believe they missed “The Call,” as if it were a one-time opportunity. We may indeed miss specific tasks and instructions, but the calling of God remains. The invitation of Jesus is to put one foot in front of the other and walk with Him.
No Better Place than God’s Calling
It’s a fact; many people followed Jesus around Galilee because of the miracles and the free food. When the message became difficult, they had second thoughts. The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John records Jesus’ message at Capernaum.
“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.’ ” (John 6:53-58 NASB).
That’s some pretty deep thought for a picnic by the sea. Imagine what it would sound like to hear these words knowing Jesus only as a man from Nazareth. The words are revolutionary; the words are intimate; the words leave no doubt that Jesus is proclaiming Himself as God’s Son.
The people responded,
“Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this said, ‘This is a difficult statement; who can listen to it?’ ” (John 6:60).
“As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.” (John 6:66).
Jesus turned to the Twelve,
So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.’ ” (John 6:67-68 NASB).
Peter and his friends were grounded in the revelation of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It was never a matter of doctrine; it was always the bond of devotion. When Jesus invited them to follow Him, they heard the voice of God inviting them to walk with His Son. Where they travelled and what they did was merely a byproduct of what they became when they walked with Him.
The calling of God has nothing to do with the specifics of the path in which He leads. It is not a calling to leadership, an instruction for missions or a position in Christ’s Body. The utter beauty and simplicity of the invitation is that it represents an offer of His presence every day and throughout the life to come. Tasks will be given; positions may be assigned, but the calling of God only requires that we take on the yoke of Christ and walk with Him.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NASB).
The longer we walk with God, the details of where and how and why become less and less important. The yoke of service to God is easy and the burden is light as we embrace the simplicity or our most basic instruction, “Follow me.” It is by disentangling our calling from our work that we find rest for our souls.
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