[Jesus] looked toward heaven and prayed: “. . . I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work [assignment, calling] You gave Me to do.” (John 17:4)
Recently, as I was getting ready for my leader development seminar in Odisha, India there was a knock on the door of my hotel. A gentleman was standing there, asking if I had some time to talk to him. Thinking that it would take only a few minutes for our conversation, I said, “Yes!” The gentleman had attended the first day of my Building Healthy Leaders seminar and wanted to clarify some of the things regarding calling. He started the conversation saying that he was deeply challenged to hear what I had said about calling.
He mentioned one of the possible indicators for knowing our calling when he began, “As you said, we must pursue what we enjoy and want to do. I have been in an Indian government job (in the construction department) for many years; I didn’t want to continue it since there is a lot of corruption and struggles in it. I wanted to be involved in God’s ministry through preaching and leading a church. But at the same time I have only five to six years until my retirement, and I don’t want to lose my retirement benefits.”
What a dilemma!
I asked, “Why is it that you think ministry (preaching, evangelism, pastoral care, etc.) is serving God but your government job is not ministry?”
He said, “In a government job I’m serving the government whereas in ministry I’m serving God.”
I told him that there were many men and women of God in the Bible, and also today, who fulfilled their destiny while under authorities, even unbelievers in authority whether in government or elsewhere. I shared that Daniel, Joseph, Nehemiah, Esther and others are great examples who made a huge impact in their nations though they were in an even more hostile world than we are. He agreed with me and said that he was really confused about the situation and just didn’t know what to do about it.
As we were talking, suddenly the officer’s assistant came in and interrupted our conversation. Since I had to get ready for the seminar, and he also had to leave for his office, we were both in a dilemma! He was confused and I was feeling bad for him.
I thought to myself … there are so many leaders in our nation who are really struggling to know their real calling in the Lord and may never come to a conclusion for the rest of their lives, just like this gentleman. He had wasted almost his entire life struggling to know his calling. If a person is not sure of his or her calling, how can he or she fulfill that calling in order to bring glory to God?
Let’s examine this question: Why do so many leaders struggle with their calling?
There are some common reasons such as ignorance, no vision for leader development in the church, culture in the church and workplace that seems unconducive to finding a calling, insecure leaders, no real born-again experience, unhealthy competition, lack of recognition and execution, lack of celebration of different gifts and talents in the church, lack of priorities, fear, laziness, selfishness and the like. Some of the questions we must ask ourselves are:
- Who is responsible to discern the calling one has for his or her life?
- How can we assist others who need help in this area?
- How can we inculcate a culture of recognition, execution, and celebration of different callings in our lives, families, churches, ministries and workplaces?
One thing is settled: We will keep on losing many potential leaders in our churches, ministries and workplaces unless enough care is given in this area.
We are called to live out our highest purpose for God – to bring glory to Him in all we are and all that we do. By God’s grace, we can make a huge difference in someone’s life for eternity by helping them to recognize their calling, encouraging and releasing them for all God intended them to be and to do with their lives. It is a high privilege and glorious opportunity as well.
What a difference it would make if all of us children of God would, like Jesus, bring glory to our heavenly Father. Together we would be able to say “Father, we have brought glory to Your Holy name by fulfilling the work (calling, assignment) You have given to us on this earth.”
May it be so!