What’s in a Word? – Calling

So, now you know your function. But what’s your calling?

On the surface, function and calling can look awfully similar. I tend to fall back on my own experience to elucidate the difference: my function in the Body of Christ, shocking to very few who know me longer than five minutes, is writing. I’ve spent more than two decades honing this craft, but I also recognize a God-given understanding of language and communication placed within me. This is my function.

My calling, on the other hand, is to write within two very specific spheres: Christian encouragement and secular fiction.

So, to use some more well-known examples, someone’s function may be as an evangelist, but is their calling to inner-city kids or people of a foreign nation? Is God calling the teacher to teach Christians or teach unbelievers? Is the pastor meant to council struggling couples or recovering addicts?

Isn’t that a cool distinction? Recognizing your function equips you for God’s work; understanding your calling dispatches you to carry it out.

We are all looking for places where we can carry out the great commission and make disciples; some are making disciples of new believers, others are convicting old believers to start living the disciplined life. The wonderful thing is that God knows each of His children so personally; He has and He will empower you to carry out the mission He’s assigned you to. 

Once we understand our function, it’s time to ardently pursue God’s heart for where and how He wants us to make use of that gift! What an exciting and enthralling opportunity to be at work with our Heavenly Father!

What is A Calling?

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines calling as “a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action, especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.” 

It’s common to hear Christians talk about the calling they feel God has placed on their life. Some feel called to missions overseas, some to work with the abused or battered or downtrodden in their area, some to evangelize or preach or teach, etc. While some of us may feel called to specific “mission fields”, tasks, etc., as a whole the Body of Christ has a calling on it—a commission to make disciples and to do our part as living epistles, representing God and Jesus to the world.

What Does the Bible Say About Calling?

Ephesians 4:1 – Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called

Galatians 5:13 – For you, brothers and sisters, were called to freedom; only do not use the freedom for an opportunity to indulge the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Colossians 3:15 – And let the peace of Christ be the umpire in your hearts, for indeed you were called as one body to this peace; and always be thankful!

How Do I Find My Calling? 

Calling often walks hand-in-hand with function, because God has equipped us for what He is calling us to do. We can also find our calling by being attentive to the places where we feel the holy spirit pressing in on our lives. Our natural sympathies, interests, and inclinations all point down the road toward what we are being called to do. The beautiful thing about being in relationship with God is that He will also train us up in what we need to do as we step forward into our calling. 

But there is also the broader calling for the Body of Christ which we should all be answering on a daily basis: to walk in love, to bring Christ to people by our actions and behavior, to encourage, uplift, be peacemakers, to speak the truth in love and to be such good witnesses and disciples of Christ that we inspire others to do the same.

In other words, if you don’t know or don’t feel what the calling of God is on your life, don’t wait to find out! Get busy doing the work of the Lord right where you are. This is pleasing to God regardless of whether you ever feel the urge to partake in missions or answer any other sort of calling.

Take Action!

Take a step this week to move forward in either the personal or corporate calling of the Lord on your life!

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2 comments

  1. I was greatly blessed by this write up, I can now differentiate between calling and function in the body of Christ. God bless you.

  2. I have been placed into situations like this and go numb waiting on the same direction that took me to the situation and sometimes its “do nothing” just be present.. having known why I was there yet not really understanding exactly why my being there may have made some type of difference. Sometimes its simply wait on the Lord as we all know or should know how danger is everywhere. I’ve learned the hard way like Jonah not to act or only act by listening to a specific command. It hurts to see or know something bad on the other hand it is a blessing to know God is at the scene. I also receive some comfort and hope that God is or can be in situations, even if we think or the majority may think things should be different. Its a link that we all fight everyday weather we know it or not.

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