The book, Life@Work, defines calling this way…Calling is God’s personal invitation for me to work on His agenda using the talents I have been given in ways that are eternally significant. Calling, at its most basic level, is the expression of a higher purpose. Calling reminds us that our lives are larger than our little selves. Calling is not a worldly idea, but one you find in Scripture.
And as you look at Scripture, you see two kinds of calling. A general or broad calling and a specific or personal calling. In the Bible, God calls people to Himself to salvation, and then calls that person to his or her work as a part of God’s divine agenda. General to specific.
Let’s tackle the general calling first.
When Paul wrote in Romans 8:28 that each follower of Jesus is ‘called according to His purpose,’ he was explaining our adoption into the family of God. That if we have put our faith and trust in Jesus, then we have been saved, and are adopted as a child of God.
Ephesians 1 speaks of this calling.
Ephesians 1:3-5, 11: 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 11 In him we were also chosen,having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
God calling people to salvation through Jesus. You also see this salvation call in the Gospels when Jesus called the disciples to come follow Him. And that calling was first to believe and follow Jesus. A broad or general call to repent of sin, and believe Jesus as your Savior, and follow Him as your Lord.
So that is part of that general calling. But then you also see in Scripture a specific or personal calling. For example, when God says to Jeremiah, “Before you were born…I appointed you as a prophet to the nations,” the calling is to a specific work assignment. God had a job for Jeremiah to do. And you see that specific type calling in Scripture when you look at Moses, Paul, Nehemiah, John the Baptist, or Stephen.
Calling is both general and specific. Our first calling is to a relationship with Jesus, and then that relationship is developed and grown in the context of a personal calling, the work that He created us to do out of our love for Him. And we can’t neglect one without the other.
We can’t say well, I just wish I knew what I was supposed to do with my life, but then neglect our calling to love, know, and follow Jesus. It is often through a growing relationship with Christ that we better understand our specific calling and purpose in our work.
On the flip side, we can’t say, yes, I’ve been saved, and I love Jesus, but I don’t care what I do at work. Remember, He wants to be the Lord over every area of our lives. These callings are woven together. The following two verses in Colossians 3 remind us how our work and everything we do is worship and intended to bring God glory. Colossians 3:17: And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
What you do and how you do it matters, because it reflects the One you worship and are following. So whatever you are specifically called to in this life, then do it for His glory and honor.