Summary: God’s call sets the course for your life.
‘Tis the season for graduation! It’s a bittersweet time. One chapter of life ends while a new one begins. The door closes on friendships that have lasted a decade or more, but just ahead are relationships that will probably last a lifetime. There’s some anxiety at moving into the unknown, but there’s also excitement at the possibilities.
It is at this point that young adults begin to consider what they’re going to do with their lives. When asked what they’re going to do after high school, the underlying question is, “What career field are you going to pursue?” It is at this point that young adults start to define themselves by their work. “Who am I” is determined by what I do for a living. There’s nothing wrong with making this connection. But I do think it’s only secondary in achieving a joyful, purposeful, and satisfying life.
There’s an issue we all need to settle, not just graduates, but folks of every age, that will determine the trajectory of our lives. Before we make major decisions we need to ask, “What’s God’s call on my life?” If I was chosen by Him before the foundation of the world, if I was predestined to adoption in His family by the work of Jesus Christ, if I am His handcrafted master piece created to walk in good works, what direction should my life take? If I was designed by Him and for Him then what’s the reason for it all? It’s the question that believers constantly ask preachers, but hardly ever ask themselves: “What is God’s call on my life?”
If you can get that question down, everything else falls into place. You’re better able to determine your vocation by knowing God’s call. If a chosen career path should end, it’s no big deal. You realize that was just one assignment among many to fulfill your call. The type of person you should marry should be determined by your call. If for example, God calls you to a cross-cultural missionary focus, it’d be unwise to marry someone whose main goal was to live a quiet life in the country nestled comfortably on family land. Your calling determines the knowledge you acquire and the skills you gain. I’d go so far as to say that your hobbies should spring from your calling. Your calling will sustain you when devastating circumstances hit. Your call gives your life direction and stability. Change happens, but your call remains constant. It’s like the North Star, that upward vision on which you can get your bearings at any point – no matter your age or stage.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that knowing your call will change your life. You will no longer see it as a series or random events – some good, some bad – but as the unfolding of God’s story with you as one of the characters. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you your call. I don’t think any person can do this. Ultimately, you must receive it from God. He has to reveal it to you. You must be open to embrace and act on it. This morning I’m going to share some clues about your calling. The best I can do is explain some of the marks of your life’s mission in a very general way. But you can bet that if these three marks are in place you’re living the life God intended.
The Marks of Your Life’s Mission
In our scripture reading this morning Paul described his call to Ephesians. Your call will not look like his. The days of inspired apostles and prophets are over as far as we know. But we can study his call to help us more fully comprehend our own.
The first mark of your life’s mission has to do with purpose. What’s your call for? It will …
1. Uniquely reveal the Great Revealer
When you strip away all the differences in God’s call to individuals it comes down to this one purpose: our lives are supposed to reveal God to a clueless world. First God calls us to know Him, then He calls us to make Him known. The first portion of that pattern is the same for every believer. We come to know God through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We come to know that God is rich in love and mercy. We experience His grace in free salvation by trusting in His Son. Making God known occurs in a variety of different ways.
Listen to Paul’s description of his calling. This is not about how he came to know God when Christ appeared to him on the Damascus road. To the Ephesians he relates how he was called to uniquely make God known:
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:2-6