A Christian's Call to Spiritual Service
The subject of a call to spiritual service is both a deep and, at times, a confusing subject. Many questions beg to be asked. Are all Christians called or just specially chosen servants? How does the call to salvation relate to the call to service? How does one determine if a call has been received from God? The answer to these and in fact all of life's questions are found in the scriptures. Let us turn there for His answers.
How we are called
Space will not permit a complete treatment of the subject of how we are called, however the reader is encouraged to meditate on the following verses and ideas.
1. We are called according to His purpose Rom. 8:28. 2. We are called in one hope Eph. 4:4 3. We are called in one body Col 3:15 4. We have an
holy calling. II Tim. 1:9. 5. We are called by His grace Gal. 1:15. 6. We are called by a worthy name James 2:7.
The Call to Salvation:
The scriptures teach that God calls persons to a relationship with Himself through salvation. This was Jesus' mission while on the earth. In Matt. 9:13 Jesus stated that He came to call sinners to repentance. This call is more than just an invitation; God's call is effective in bringing men to Christ. In fact without the specific call to salvation, one would never be saved. "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Rom. 8:30).
Many other passages speak of our being called to salvation. We have been called out of darkness (I Pet. 2:9). we have been called to eternal life (I Tim. 6:12). We have been Called unto His eternal glory (I Pet. 5:10,
II Pet. 1:7).
Lest we become to proud of our calling, we are reminded that few wise and mighty are called (I Cor. 1:26).
God instead has, "chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (I Cor. 1:27).
The Call to Service
The relationship to which we are called involves many factors. When these are looked at as a whole it is quite obvious that all Christians are called to serve our Lord. A call to service is not simply for the spiritual over achiever, it is for every follower of Christ. Also our service is more than what we do; it is what and who we are as well.
I Cor. 7:22 clearly states that one who is called is a servant of the
Lord. Within the same context we are told: "Brethren, let every man,
wherein he is called, therein abide with God." (I Cor. 7:24). We are called to be a servant. This is where we should remain. We are ever and always servants of the Most High God. This is a privilege to be enjoyed not a burden to bear. What greater significance can there be in life than to serve our creator.
The Bible also teaches that we are placed in the body of Christ to minister to others. The picture of the members of the body (cf. Eph. 4:16) indicates that we all are involved in the process of building others up in the faith. This can only take place with active involvement in a local church and in the lives of other believers. Find your place in your church and be a builder.
God has also revealed that all Christians are not only called to serve but are uniquely prepared to serve
through the gifts of the Spirit(cf. Eph. 4:7ff). This truth should encour
age us to be involved in the ministries of our church, and should not cause us to hesitate. The best way to discover what our spiritual gifts are is by serving. Only an active servant will be able to see what God has gifted him to do.
The Call to Specific Service
The Bible does indicate that certain persons are called to special tasks for the Lord. Jesus called the twelve to follow Him. (Mark 1:20). Paul claimed that his apostleship was due to a call of God (I Cor. 1:1).
This is the more difficult aspect of this subject because to a large degree the experience of being called is unique and subjective.
One thing is clear, however, God's call is always in harmony with His revealed truth. There are specific requirements for the office of bishop, elder, pastor. These requirements are:
1. Godly Character, I Tim. 3:1-7;
2. Specific Gifts of Spirit, Eph. 4:7-13;
3. Recognition of a local church, Acts 13:2-4, I Tim. 4:14
4. Inner Conviction, I Cor. 9:6.
We often hear of a call to preach or a call to the ministry from the Lord's servants but there is a broad range of experiences involved here. Recently I met with a group of about twenty Pastors to discuss their experiences of God's call. Each had a different story to tell. God works with us as individuals. One pastor recounted how he felt God's tug upon his heart to surrender to the ministry but he struggled against it for a number of years before surrendering to the Lord's call.
Another shared that there was no specific experience that led to his conviction that the Lord had called him but that it was simply an inward desire that was placed in his heart. This pastor had simply followed the desire of His heart for fifty years.
I felt called to the ministry on the night I trusted Christ. At the age
of ten I responded to an alter call at the end of an evangelistic service, and on the way back to my seat I was struck with a desire to give my life to ministry of the Lord. The desire has never left; to me it is evidence enough of God's calling.
Weirsbe offers this assessment, "How do we know we are called? For some, there is a crisis experience: Moses at the burning bush, or Isaiah in the temple. But for most there is simply that inescapable conviction that God has laid His hand on us." (Weirsbe, Sugden, Confident Pastoral Leadership, Moody).
The question of your calling
You are called! If you are not saved God calls you to repentance. If you are, you have been called to serve faithfully in your local church. If you are called to a specific ministry He will give you that assurance and conviction. Make sure that you answer His call to you.
Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church
©1997 Calvary Baptist Church