Some Key Questions
- From what do you find purpose in life?
- What is work? Why do it?
- Are your work and your calling the same? Why or why not?
- Why is there such a wide variety of causes out there for which individuals (often who are volunteers)? How do those who follow Christ with a passion for the Kingdom of God choose between them?
- How would you describe Jesus’ call to you?
Some (more) basic principles
- God wants (and calls) all of who we are. He wants us with the fullness of our Head, Heart and Hands. Philippians 4:8
- The Holy Spirit has “quickened” us, our spirits, through our faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 8:11 in the KJV. Quicken = “Give life”
- God calls us to Him — and then to what we do.
- God’s call to us is an invitation – and a command. Jesus’ simple command to his first disciples, “Follow me.” Matthew 4:18-20
- We work out our calling by God throughout our lives. God has acted prior to this “blog reading” in calling us. Let’s look at what Mary Poplin had to say about her journey in Christ before “finding Calcutta”
- Her upbringing was like that of many of us from the United States: “I can now see that even the church in which I grew up taught me more about being a ‘good humanist’ than about living with and for Christ.” (12)
- She accepted Christ clumsily/reluctantly, “If you are real, please come and get me.” (11)
- God’s blessing her trip to India by provision for all her needs.
- God is calling us to His work. “It is Him, His work.” (31) Mother Teresa lived this truth.
- God surely wants us in the big picture, as a citizen of His Kingdom. We find our way to the Kingdom and living our citizenship, not (very often) through earth shattering events, but through life’s day-to-day details.
Calcutta is …
- The realization and personal affirmation of knowing and seeking something greater in life than personal satisfaction.
- Searching for and finding God’s work in our lives as they already are as those called to be part of “the Way.”
- Reshaping our lives to conform to God’s will – in many instances finding this in the work we are already doing.
- Giving glory to God through our calling, our work.
- Performing our work as unto the Lord.
Calcutta is not …
- Finding fulfillment (through work, family, friends, hobbies or causes).
- Performing our work exclusively for the reward of personal satisfaction or the financial gains.
Next in series: Finding Calcutta: To make possible true inner silence, practice i.e., a meditation for reflection upon our calling, taken from In the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories & Prayers (Mother Teresa. Becky Benenate, ed. New World Library. 1997).
Note: Genesis of the series: You’ll notice the influence of Head, Heart & Hands, Os Guiness’ “The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life,” and “Why Christian Apologetics?“* As with the Head, Heart & Hands series, the material is drawn from an adult elective at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (EBIC) facilitated by Kevin Milligan in coordination with the author speaking for our Christian Scholar Series (an EBIC-ESN partnership). In Spring 2011, Mary Poplin spoke in Pittsburgh, South Central PA, and Baltimore as part of an ESN partnership with Undergraduate Ministry and Graduate & Faculty Ministry. To God be the glory!
*To skim or not to skim: A ‘case’ study of “Christian Apologetics” and Why Christian Apologetics – Hell on Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for the Biblical Faith (IVP. 2011). More posts on topic coming.
About the author:
Tom enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa and their four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he teaches adult electives and co-leads a small group), among healthcare professionals as the Northeast Regional Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), and in higher ed as a volunteer with the Emerging Scholars Network (ESN). For a number of years, the Christian Medical Society / CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine was the hub of his ministry with CMDA. Note: Tom served with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship / USA for 20+ years, including 6+ years as the Associate Director of ESN. He has written for the ESN blog from its launch in August 2008. He has studied Biology (B.S.), Higher Education (M.A.), Spiritual Direction (Certificate), Spiritual Formation (M.A.R.), Ministry to Emerging Generations (D.Min.). To God be the glory!