I’ve been thinking and speaking a lot of about God’s will, gifts, purpose, God’s calling, etc. And sometimes I think we just make too darn hard what God has made rather simple. Lot of Christians wrestle with questions like, What is it that God wants me to do with my life? How do I know God’s will? How do I identify my gifts?
Some churches have their members undergo a spiritual gifts survey. I think this is good, though we don’t do that at Gages Lake, though that doesn’t mean we never would, because we might find that a useful tool in the future.
But I have largely come to believe and understand and experience that God reveals Himself as we begin to move and work. In other words, we do something. We don’t wait for a blinding flash of light or a burning bush. We act, based on what we’re comfortable doing, where the needs in the church and community are, and what we enjoy doing.
And . . . we try stuff. In fact, I dare say that I have discovered my calling in life more often from finding out what God didn’t want me to do, than what He did. For instance, growing up, I always knew I would write, but I was never quite sure the vocational field that I would employ that in. I had two tracts that I loved. I loved ministry and I loved politics.
For a long time, I aspired to be a White House speech writer, which is a pretty heady and impossible goal for an unknown Christian kid. A childhood trip to Washington D.C. spurred a love in me for America and its government workings. Plus I love people and in politics you largely engage with people.
So, a few years ago, I got my chance. I was very involved in a congressional campaign that was a national campaign. I had the opportunity to meet governors, the vice-president, the First Lady, and a whole host of political heroes. And I was making headway, I was carving out the beginnings of a career. But, the strangest thing happened. The longer the campaign went on, the less I enjoyed it. My stomach turned at the sort of machinations and trickery that must be employed to be successful. By the end, I longed for ministry, I longed for the corner church, where the eternal, timeless truths of the gospel would have a more trans formative effect on the culture. God clearly does call Daniels and Josephs into government and I applaud the good men and women who answer that call, but it wasn’t for me.
And so I found, or rather, solidified my calling in the church, as a pastor and a writer. And that came as a result of a closed door.
I think this applies in all areas of life. Sometimes its a misguided fear of doing the wrong thing that keep us from doing anything. We sort of sit and wait for God to show up and drag us into our calling. But we have to be willing to go, to try stuff, to fail, and then to realize where we are needed in God’s advancing Kingdom. I think of Paul’s admonition to “do,” in Philippians 4:9. I think of Jonathan’s bold actions to take out a Philistine garrison. Amazingly, Jonathan admitted that “maybe” God was in it (1 Samuel 13).
This is both an encouragement and and admonition. First an encouragement that if you are in an area where you may have failed or just doesn’t seem to be working, look at this as a sign from God at what he doesn’t want you to do. Praise Him for his wonderful clarity. Secondly, this is an admonition to stop the navel-gazing and haziness. And get up and lend your life to the cause of the Gospel.