Texts, NRSV: Ephesians 4.1; Genesis 2.15
We’re taking a look at Ephesians, a book I’ve taken a lot of time to study and research. This is just the “setup” for a sermon I preached on Ephesians 4.1. I’m taking a little time to question some of the perceptions we have of the calling, and also make fun of some of our views as well.
Video: FAQs About the Calling
Ephesians 4.1: I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,
There are a couple of questions that could arise from this verse. Let’s try to head them off at the pass. They’re just a couple of questions that I hear sometimes, and I’m sure there are more.
Q1: Isn’t it the job of the minister to be called?
Don’t we all have careers, but the ministers have callings? 1) Paul is NOT writing to ministers. Ephesians is a general Epistle for everyone. 2) I want to point out to you that there is something sacred in every good work of man. What was the job of the first man?
Look back with me to Genesis 2.15: The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it.
The first job, the first calling, assigned by God was what we might call today a groundskeeper, or a gardener. Every good work of man is sacred. There is something sacred in what Paul is talking about as well, the calling.
Q2: How do I find my perfect calling?
This is where it gets fun for me personally because I like to revel in Theology. Has anyone ever heard, “I’m praying for you, that you will be in the perfect will of God”?There are different opinions about it, and I understand them. I’ve studied it quite a bit with my background. However, I really feel like these type of statements are defeating. They actually raise the level of anxiety, rather than helping someone who is genuinely seeking God’s will.
Just think about this. If I’m truly seeking God’s will . . . and I’m already anxious about it . . . and you suggest to me that there’s a pinpoint perfect will of God for me . . . and I feel like I’m already in left field . . . then what’s going to happen after that?
I’m going to start thinking things like, “Is there some sort of elite club of Christians? Is there a Perfect Will Club that I don’t know about? If there is a Perfect Will Club, will I ever be a member? How will I know if I’m a member? Do I get a card? Am I a card-carrying member of the Perfect Will Club? What are the annual fees of the Perfect Will of God Club?”
When you’re doing a lot of pastoral counseling, you’re going to run into this. If you’re helping out on an altar care team, you’re going to have to think about this a little bit.
I’m suggesting that Paul is saying calling, but he is not offering a membership to the Perfect Will Club. He’s calling us do do something different, and that is to walk worthy.
If you’re walking worthy today, you’ll probably still be walking worthy tomorrow.
So take all of your fears about the Perfect Will of God Club, and just leave those at the altar. Paul is not just speaking to ministers. He’s speaking to everyone. We all have callings. We just need to remember the call in our every-day. We need to walk worthy of the call.
* adapted from JVI, Walk Worthy of the Call, 07.23.17