No, not on the telephone. By God. I said something yesterday about how not everyone feels about ministry the same way that I do. I love it. Absolutely love that my “job” in life is to work beside my husband to build God’s kingdom. And he gets PAID to do it. How cool is that?
The person I was talking with said that I love it so much because it’s what I’m “called” to do. That I’m set apart for that work and that’s why it’s so easy (HA!) for me to want to do it. And while I agree with that to some point, I haven’t been able to shake the thought that we are ALL called, aren’t we?
Over the course of the past year, I think I’ve evaluated and then re-evaluated and now I’m re-re-evaluating the way I view ministry. I used to think that the only people “called” to ministry were those called to “vocational ministry” – you know, those in the 4/5 fold ministry description – pastor/teacher, evangelist, apostle, prophets. I used to think that if you weren’t a pastor or in vocational ministry, or on the deacon board, then you didn’t *have* to be active in ministry. A good Christian went to church at least two days a week and the more days a week you were at church, obviously the more spiritual you were.
I’m far removed from those days and that way of thinking. I still know people who are stuck in this way of thinking. I moved from there to thinking that displaying the fruit of the Spirit in your life was the way to go. That if you had love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, gentleness and faithfulness flowing out of your life, you were in good shape. Those things alone make you a good person and if out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks – you were sure to be sharing your personal testimony with people in the way you live. And the Bible tells us all to go and share the Gospel, so we’re doing God’s work, right? Isn’t that all that should be required of Average Joe and Jane Christian?
From that point, I moved to thinking that maybe service was more important. I was at that viewpoint just a year ago. I believe, very deeply, that EVERY Christian needs to be actively involved in serving within their local body of believers. If the “Church” (meaning the body of Christ, specifically the local Church) is made up of many parts and we all have a specific purpose within the Body. From scrubbing toilets to teaching Sunday school, from vacuuming the sanctuary to leading worship, we all have special talents that God has given us to use to glorify Him. So, isn’t it enough that we’re serving WITHIN our local body of believers?
My current viewpoint however, mixes the last two. I used to see it as an either/or situation. You should either be actively telling people about Jesus or you should be serving in the church. Wow – do I know a number of people who use the “But I’m already doing _____ (you fill in the blank)” as an excuse. I found myself at a place where I was saying, “But I already work in the nursery” or sing for worship or teach Sunday school or clean something, or coordinate something or do the admin work, etc… I found myself in a place where I was using my service as an excuse to not share my faith with people who don’t have any hope for the future. With people who are living a life right now that really is as good as it gets.
So, I’ve moved from an either/or attitude to a BOTH/AND attitude. It’s not enough to just be working within the church body and not telling people about Jesus. It’s not enough to just be telling people about Jesus and not doing acts of service in another area (no matter how simple or complicated).
The truth is that God is calling ALL BELIEVERS to Himself. He’s calling every single person who says, “Lord, I’m a sinner and I believe you died for those sins. FORGIVE me and help me to live a better life and put my trust in You” to live a life of service AND to tell people about what He’s done in our lives.
My husband said something yesterday that really stepped on my toes. He said that when we find ourselves in a situation where the conversation is turning towards the things of God and we miss the boat it’s because we don’t have enough of Jesus in our hearts. If “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” and we’re not speaking love and truth and peace and hope into the lives of other people, maybe we need to be working to love Jesus more so that He can fill us so we can pour ourselves out.
I guess to answer my original question – who’s called? The answer is everyone is called. God is calling all people unto Himself. He’s calling the unbeliever to repentance. He’s calling the believer to service and comissioning them to tell others. The next question is, “Will you answer the call?”