Impact of Calling On the Mission
Dr. Kris A. Jackson
Some callings are crystal clear, Moses drawn by a burning bush, Isaiah hearing the call, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”, Ezekiel being commanded to eat a parchment roll symbolizing the Word of God, or Paul seeing a man in a vision, pleading, “Come over into Macedonia and help us”. A direct call from God is perhaps the most sacred interchange between heaven and earth. Without it, purpose gets sidetracked and motivation wanes. But with a clear call Moses is not afraid to stand face-to-face with Pharaoh, Esther accepts her mission “for such a time as this”, and Paul endures snakebite, stoning and storm to get to Rome.
Because of His calling Jesus set His face as a flint in the direction of Jerusalem and the cross. The divine call pressed Adoniram Judson, William Carey, David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor and others toward their respective mission fields. It draws intercessors out of their beds early morning and emboldens preachers to proclaim Christ under the threat of imprisonment and even death. A man or woman of God’s calling is the gasoline that fuels faith and the electrical current that energizes ministry. A divine call is God’s pact with an individual that He will back up His word. It is a pact with impact.
But he who lacks calling will wander from one enterprise to another and ultimately wilt under pressure. A calling is like a heartbeat, it keeps the feet marching forward when everyone else has packed up and headed home.
On the flipside, there are those who out of eagerness to serve the Lord or a presumption that they are God’s special agents who have called themselves and not waited for a specific assignment from the Lord. Such self-appointed ministers were not sent, they just went. And the result is almost always shipwreck. But before we judge the overly zealous, we must remember that “it is good to always be zealously affected in a good thing” (Galatians 4:18). The very fact that a person is jealous for and zealous about the things of God is evidence of an inner calling that needs to be considered and helped along by other seasoned mentors.
In a sense, every believer is called of God. There is a general call; “many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 20:16). And there is a specific personal call. Paul said that God “separated me from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace” (Galatians 1:15). John was so anxious to be about the Master’s business that he was kicking while still in Elisabeth’s womb.
In clarifying a divine call, we need to ask several questions:
• Is there something kicking on the inside? Is there an inner compulsion that says, “I must be about my Father’s business?”
• Is this inner conviction something that you cannot seem to shake? When Jeremiah tried to lay his calling aside and quit the ministry, the calling returned like fire – “But his word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones…” (Jeremiah 20:9)
• Do you have a sense of accountability before God regarding ministry? Paul added, “necessity is laid upon me: yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
• Is there a sense that a certain mission is what you were born to do? The good news is that what you were born for, you were also built for.
• Does it make sense that you should be the one to fulfill a certain mission? I can understand why Paul with his legal mind would be used to write Romans, or why Moses, schooled in Pharaoh’s household, would be sent to confront Pharaoh himself.
When I accepted the Lord in a gospel crusade listening to a guitar-playing evangelist, being a guitarist, I automatically assumed that I too was to follow the same path of ministry. We should never make assumptions of that nature on our own, but for me, it was an inner conviction from the start.
Bill Wilson worked in the bus ministry with Pastor Tommy Barnett in his early days. He later moved to New York City and started one of the largest children’s ministries in America. When asked about his divine call, expecting some grand experience like Moses or Ezekiel or Paul on the Damascus Road, Brother Wilson said, “I am not a preacher, I’m a bus driver. I saw kids that needed a ride to church, so I drove through the boroughs and started picking them up”. The call of God does not require the appearing of angels or a tape-recorded prophecy. It is all about an inner constraint. Again, Paul shared, “the love of Christ constrains us” (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Now, how does calling impact the mission?
First, it removes self-doubt and personal anxiety. Because Paul was certain of the Macedonian Call, he was not discouraged by the small crowds at the first or intimidated by the persecutions he would endure. The calling turned a jail cell into a cathedral of praise and resulted in the jailor getting saved. All things work together for good where there is a divine calling.
Second, it produces special faith in God which in turn produces great authority. Though Moses felt inadequate and complained of a lack of eloquence when God spoke to him from the burning bush, yet when he stood before Pharaoh, he exhibited no inadequacy or weakness at all. “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh…” (Exodus 7:1) Because of his calling and authority, Moses was no longer a fugitive slave in Pharaoh’s sight, but was a mirror reflection of Elohim.
Third, the call is always accompanied by a special anointing to accomplish what God wills to be done. He never calls us to a work without providing the strategy, funding, and abilities to get the job done. George Muller awoke every morning with an assurance that God would provide for his orphanages, even though he had no personal means of support. Where God guides, He provides, or we could also say, where there is a divine appointing there will be a divine anointing. He never leaves us unequipped for the task.
Fourth, a divine calling builds the resolve needed to finish the mission. No one with the persistence to scale to the peak of Mt. Everest could ever be happy with halfway. The race is not to the swift. Ministry is more like a grueling marathon run. Getting started has its own merit but finishing the race has its reward. I cannot say that I have ever thought about quitting the ministry, I have resigned from churches, but never the ministry, because of the calling. But if during a time of discouragement, self-sabotage, or frustration I ever questioned the ministry, I believe the steady echo of the calling I received at the age of twenty would still tug at my heart. Paul said, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course”, not because he was necessarily more disciplined than others, but because he never lost sight of “the heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19). His courage came from his calling and his continuity came from his courage. It all goes back to a gut-wrenching meeting with the risen Christ on the dust of the Damascus Road.
I am praying that you too will fall to the earth and respondas did Paul, “What will you have me to do, Lord?” (Acts 9:6) Voice that honest prayer and you will find the mission has already been prepared.