Jesus called the Twelve together and gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave their town, as a testimony against them.” So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere. –Luke 9:1-6
I read those verses and found it interesting that Christ’s instruction to His disciples was to go and minister was for a specific mission or task. Now years ago my greatest delight was Pastoring and teaching. I looked at that as my calling and ministry. The problem with this was that when the Lord clearly instructed my wife and I to move to Ann Arbor, I felt I was no longer fulfilling my calling, like I had somehow failed Him and that I was, as another brother said, “just another cog in the wheel.” My problem was confusing the concepts of “calling” and “tasks.”
My background was in Radio Broadcasting as an announcer and “Disc Jockey.” I loved to talk and to communicate. The fact that in my later years I was frequently teaching and preaching, I realized God had equipped me with the speaking gifts, and once I began exercising those gifts, I assumed that speaking was my calling. It made perfect sense to me.
Over the years of being here in Ann Arbor, my Father helped me realize that my “calling” was to surrender my life every day to His will and to do whatever He asked, whatever that was. He didn’t want me to surrender to an assignment. He wants me to surrender to Him! He didn’t want me “hung up” on the kind of assignment He would give me. He didn’t want it to matter to me whether He asked me to teach the Word of God to a hundred people or to wash a toilet. My calling was to be abandoned to Him–nothing more. What I did was irrelevant. All He wanted was obedience and to follow His leading.
The Twelve were called to be Christ’s learner or pupils. They also were designated apostles, meaning they would be sent out. What would His pupils be sent out to do? Simply whatever He told them. In our human need for the security of sameness, we tend to want one job assignment from God that we can do for the rest of our lives. He is far more creative than that!
Okay, you’re reading this and might start to think, “Isn’t it possible for God to assign a lifelong task like preaching at one church for forty years?” Absolutely! But we are wise not to make presumptions by surrendering to the assignment! Our calling is to surrender to God (period). Think of the pitfalls we could avoid if we were more abandoned to God, rather than to a particular kind of service.
As Beth Moore wrote: “Remember the meaning of disciple: pupil, learner! We can’t keep skipping class–our time with God in the Scripture and in prayer–and except to know when He’s scheduled a field trip!”
Father, what we are going to be hasn’t be completely revealed to us, yet, but we know that we are Your children! And we know that when You appear, we will be like you, because we will see You as You really are. With this hope in us, we purify ourselves just as You are pure (I John 3:2-3), and we make ourselves ready for You to employ us in Your service . . . in whatever way You choose to use us.
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