Summary: This message focuses on 1 Corinthians 7:17 encouraging each of us to walk in the calling God has given to us. We should recognize our calling and then continue to walk in that same calling.
Walk in God’s Calling (Our Spiritual Walk #5)
Today we’re going to talk about walking in our calling – from Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 7:17 "As God has distributed to every man, as the Lord has called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain in all churches." (NKJV)
Everyone has a calling from God. These instructions were given to everyone in all the churches! We’re going to talk today about how to recognize God’s calling in our lives and then how to Walk in that Calling.
1. Recognize your calling
To help with recognizing your calling, I want to contrast two callings in the Bible: Isaiah and Jonah. Some Christians have a calling that is similar to the story of Jonah in the Bible. God called them, but they rebelled and tried to go the other way. They tried to run away from God’s calling, but God kept pursuing them until they finally surrendered their own will to God and decided to obey His call on their lives.
Some folks even seem to imply that if you don’t have a story like Jonah, where you fought against God’s call until you finally gave in, then you don’t have a genuine Calling.
But that’s not how I see it. You see, there’s more than one kind of calling in the Bible --- and I believe God’s call is custom made for each person.
In my case, I think my calling is more like the calling of Isaiah. Isaiah was a willing volunteer. Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
You see, I never went through a season of rebellion where I tried to run from God. I really don’t have a dramatic conversion story to tell. I can’t tell you all about my former days as a dope smoking, Harley riding member of a motorcycle gang. I didn’t spend the ‘60’s in a hippy commune; didn’t run away from home; didn’t drop out of high school; never joined a rock band. No one’s going to make a movie about my thrilling conversion story!
Quite the contrary! Some of my earliest memories are of crawling under the church pews with my brother, Karl, while my parents sang at choir practice at church (Millcreek Church of Christ in Ohio). I remember enjoying cool aid and cookies at Vacation Bible School. (in the good old days before we went to serving healthy stuff)
I always loved singing the songs at church --- even though, sometimes I misunderstood what we were singing about. For example, I never figured out why we sang songs about my friend Stanley (Stanley, Stanley, Stanley on the promises of Christ my Savior). I can remember a laundry song we sang (Bringing in the Sheets, Bringing in the sheets, We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheets) The truth is that I loved everything about church since I was a kid.
A lot of you are giving this same gift to your kids or grand-kids. There’s nothing better than growing up as part of a loving church family. And all of you are giving that experience to the children and teenagers that you bring here to our church.
By the time I was a teenager, we had moved to Arizona. I got to serve in various ways at Scottsdale Christian Church --- including teaching pre-schoolers, working with the youth program, singing and playing the guitar at church, and helping out at church camp. The truth was that my favorite part of my week was time spent at church.
When it came time to figure out what my career path might be, I had curiosity about several vocations: police officer, radio disk jockey, pharmacist, veterinarian, but the idea that seemed to trump everything else was the possibility of ministry.
Back in those days, at church camp, along with the call to become a Christian and be baptized, or to rededicate your life to Christ, there was also a call for those willing to become “life recruits.” On one of those occasions I went forward and joined a small group of other “life recruits.” In my mind, the die was cast and the course that lay ahead was settled. I was going to become a minister. And that’s what I did.
Of course, I met some opposition … and had times when it seemed like my hopes wouldn’t work out … but all in all you could say that my story isn’t very dramatic. There were no voices from heaven. And, except for the day I went forward at church camp, there weren’t any big decisive moments. For me, though, that decision at camp was my Isaiah moment . And after 43 years in ministry, I’m glad I told the Lord, “Here am I, Lord, send me.”