A man once approached Martin Luther announcing that he’d become a Christian. Wanting to serve the Lord, he asked Luther, “Now what should I do?” (as if to ask, “Should I become a pastor? Or a missionary? Or a monk?”).
Luther asked him, “What do you do now?”
“I’m a cobbler (shoemaker).”
To the man’s surprise, Luther responded, “Then make really good shoes and sell them at a fair price.”
When God calls you to Christ, he doesn’t ordinarily call you to leave the “vocation” (calling) you already have – if it’s lawful. Nor do you need to justify that calling for its “spiritual” value or evangelistic usefulness. He calls you simply to pursue your calling with new God-glorifying goals, motives, and standards – and with a renewed commitment to perform your calling with higher aims and greater excellence.
One way you reflect and image your Creator is by being creative right where you are with the talents and gifts he’s given you. God himself says, “Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them” (1 Corinthians 7:20). As you do this, you fulfil your God-given mandate to let your light shine in your unique “vocation” and “station” for God’s glory (see Matthew 5:16).
This means that those of us who are church leaders actually make a huge mistake when we limit a person’s “ministry” to ecclesiastical activities – preaching, Sunday school teaching, helping in the nursery, working with the youth, accompanying the congregational singing, and so on. We need to help God’s people see that their calling is much wider than the time they put into church matters. By reducing the notion of calling to the exercise of spiritual gifts inside the church, we fail to help our people see that calling involves everything we are and everything we do – both inside the church and outside the church.
A while back, Os Guinness addressed the question as to why the church was not having a larger impact in our world when there were more people going to church than ever before. He said the main reason was not that Christians weren’t where they should be. There are plenty of artists, doctors, business owners, lawyers, factory workers, etc. who are Christians. Rather, the main reason is that Christians aren’t who they should be right where they are.
“Calling,” he said, “is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion, dynamism, and direction lived out as a response to his summons and service.”
Bloom where you’re planted – where God has planted you.