I want to add a postcript to my recent reflections on Calling in Your Life.
My Ethics professor in seminary reminded our class:
If God says yes to a particular opportunity in your life, God may say no to that same opportunity in the future. It is important to continue to listen to God – both yes and no.
The article, Does a Calling Have to Be Religious?, from the Huffington Post addresses something that has shaped my life – calling. For me it has primarily been God‘s call in my life and a call. Here is an excerpt from the article, that I just couldn’t break into pieces.
“In 1904, Rainer Maria Rilke, writing to a younger man who’d sought his advice, suggested that the authenticity of one’s calling can be found only inside oneself. “[A]sk yourself this: Must I write? Dig deep into yourself for a true answer. And … if you can confidently meet this serious question with a simple, ‘I must,’ then build your life upon it. It has become your necessity.” Substitute work with the poor, forestry, law enforcement, the stage, the military, religion, painting, banking, coaching, law, politics, teaching, or another pursuit, and the answer remains the same: If you can live a full, satisfying life without doing it, it’s not “your necessity,” it’s not your calling. Not even if you’re really good at it. Not even if your parents, their friends, your friends, teachers and religious leaders all want you to do it and think you ought to do it and would be nuts not to do it, would it be wrong not to do it — not even if you think you should want to do it but in fact don’t. Rilke might agree that the presence of any language of obligation would be all the evidence you would need to differentiate the true calling from the false. To say I must because I shouldimplies an obligation, not a calling. I must because, if I don’t, I’ll die inside is quite another matter.”
This is a powerful description of calling. I believe that each one of us may be called by God in multiple ways throughout our life. It may be a career, relationship, an ethnic group, rural life or any number of things that can significantly shape one’s life.
At this time in my life, I feel called to serve as an ordained elder in a local United Methodist church. I pray that I will be attentive to God’s continued call.
I just finished up The Echo Within: Finding Your True Calling by Robert Benson. I admit that I was a bit skeptical of the book when I started. From the front and back cover, I assumed that it would be a bit too lovely for me. I was surprised at what I found.
Benson writes with a cadence that flows between personal narrative, interactions with others and teaching about listening for God’s call in your life. The book is titled after the resonance that forms when one hears or experiences something which may be a true calling – something for which God has created a particular individual.
I recommend it for someone that is looking for a narrative look at how to listen for God’s voice in your life. While I am not as comfortable with Benson’s approach to faith as others that are more direct, I found value in this book. I have someone in mind whom I believe may find it valuable and will pass it along.
If you are interested, you can purchase it at
The Echo Within: Finding Your True Calling.
This post originated from an Advanced Leadership Development course that was a part of the Wesley Academy at Resurrection taught by Dr. Lovett Weems and Cathy Abbott.
Contentment isn’t complacency.
Dreaming isn’t envy.
- How do you be content where you are while dreaming for the future?
- In what ways does it make sense to see the current position as a step to the next position?
- Does it ever make sense to see the current position as a way to get to the next position?
We have to be convinced that this is God’s will that this is the place for us at this time in our lives.
This is where we find fulfillment.
Dig in where you are and try to find meaning there.
Some people spend their whole lives in the next position.
This series is about your thoughts. Each day I will post a sentence starter and invite you to finish it with a comment.
I feel that God may be calling me…
I have had the opportunity to lead the Builders Sunday Morning Small Group for three weeks studying the gospel according to Mark. This question was shared during our time together.
When Jesus called the first disciples, had they heard of him before? Did they have any knowledge of this man who was asking them to leave their livelihood, family and friends and follow him?
This is a great question and one which I have not previously considered. I do not read a clear response one way or the other in the text of Mark. (Perhaps why this was a question in the first place)
I had never imagined the disciples having any previous knowledge about Jesus before he called them. It would make a little more sense why they would leave their nets and follow him if they had heard of him before. However, as a class member proposed, it may be that Jesus presence, tone, power and the work of the Holy Spirit was what compelled the disciples to follow – not just the words.
I think that whether the disciples had hard of Jesus before depends on how you decide to interpret this passage:
After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15, TNIV)
How far had Jesus teaching spread? How long had he been proclaiming the good news of God before encountering those who would become his disciples? Was Jesus well known before he began healing?
What do you think? How would you respond to this question?