According to Scripture, every believer has a calling to serve in a particular role, utilizing the talents and gifts they have been given by God (1 Corinthians 12:7, 1 Peter 4:10).
During the Protestant Reformation, as reformers broke from the Catholic Church, they began to apply the term “vocation” (derived from the Latin for “calling”) to all believers and not simply to the clergy. In this period, it was understood that all callings were valid before God, and that everyone had a calling to join Christ’s service, glorifying him by providing a critical service in the world (1 Corinthians 10:31). In other words, the work of a painter, or of a politician, or of a podiatrist is just as God-honoring as that of the priest, when done in communion with Christ, for God’s glory and for the benefit of others.
One’s calling is therefore the God-given role in which one is to serve through the utilization of one’s spiritual gifts and natural talents for Christ’s glory.
Of course, it takes time to identify one’s calling, and the process includes:
- Prayer & Scripture study – immersing ourselves in the Lord’s presence through prayer and in the biblical text is an essential part of hearing from the Lord on our calling.
- Gifts and talents assessment – this part of the process should also include an assessment of one’s maturity, what might be described as “readiness” assessment. Too often we identify someone’s calling, but then place them into position of responsibility for which they are not yet ready. Knowing not only “where” to serve within the church, but also at “what level” to serve is important.
- Active service and exploration – this part of the process includes taking risks, trying new activities, as well as experiencing failure. Yes, the Lord speaks to us and calls us in advance, but we are to step out in faith, work hard, and as a result we will feel increasingly confident that we’ve found our vocation.
- Community confirmation – a “calling” is not answered in isolation, and neither should it be embraced in isolation. Ultimately, someone within our community of fellowship should give us feedback on how they see the Lord has gifted us.
Embracing our calling is vital to enduring difficult times, which are bound to come in every vocation. Knowing that we are serving the community in the way in which God has gifted us is vital to preserving when service grows increasingly difficult.
The truth is that most of us could do any number of things vocationally. For this reason, one to one coaching is particularly helpful in discerning and confirming our calling.