The Pastor and I sat on the back porch early one morning last week, sipping coffee and contemplating our calling from God.
If we did not feel called to this ministry — the gospel, the people, the Church — would we continue in it?
No, no and, just so we’re clear, no.
Yet Mike and I spoke that morning not as ones defeated or disheartened or trapped in a miserable job, but as people filled with gratefulness and joy.
How did we get here?
Just a few years back, the conversation would have gone in a different direction. That’s a polite way of saying that one of us (me) might be channeling Claire Danes’ cry face, and the other one of us (not me) might be contemplating how we could move to Oxford without people noticing we had left the country.
We’ve come a long way, baby. And in our next sentence in Colossians, Paul talks about the very things God used to help us get to a better place.
…I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me… (Colossians 1:25)
Let’s break it down:
I became a minister.
The Greek word for “became” in this verse is genomai. Other versions write it here as “I am made a minister,” and the word is often translated as “when it had come to pass” or “happened” or “created.”
Paul knows he didn’t try to become a minister. He became one. He had been traveling along his merry way as a Pharisee, kicking butt and taking names as a follower of the law and Christian hunter. Jesus entered His space like a cosmic flashing barricade and made him a minister of the gospel.
Paul knew that calling isn’t something you create; it’s something created for you.
According to the stewardship from God that was given to me.
The word stewardship is oikonomia, meaning “administration of a household or household affairs.” Much like we might decide where the family finances are best spent or plan for our groceries to last for the week, Paul sees that God fashions our calling out of our experiences, our talents, our joys and our pains in accordance with His holy management of the universe. He has budgeted our lives for the cause of His glory.
And so, Paul, who writes to the Colossians he does not know, from a prison he cannot leave, with scars on his body he bears for the name of the Christ he longs to be with, rests in this truth:
The best thing about calling is not what you are called to.
The best thing about calling is that you are called at all.
In my case, once I stopped resenting the things God has asked me to do, I was able to find joy in the fact that He asks me to do anything at all.
I was able to see that the sustaining hand of God that keeps me where would never stay on my own is sweet evidence that He walks with me.
Much like our first lesson in The Colossians Project, Mike and I have learned that we are significant, not because of who we are or where we are or what we do, but because God speaks to us. He sustains us on a path we would never have imagined.
He is with us.
And that is enough for everything.
Featured image from Brown Dress with White Dots.
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