Called to be.... - Dwelling Spaces

Friday, 14 September 2012

Called to be....

I have been pondering the nature of 'calling' lately, and thinking about Mary as an example. More than anyone else in the history of the world she had the calling to the most high profile role - Mother of God. But it struck me that God’s calling to Mary to become the mother of Jesus was not the primary calling on her life. The calling on her life was exactly the same as the one on each of our lives as Christians, it is to hear the word of God and obey it.

Mary was living her normal life, one shaped by her genes, culture, family, experiences etc, but was living her life in a way that must have resonated with an obedience to God, and with a character that reflected His character. That meant that when Gabriel appeared to her, what happened wasn’t a new and sudden calling on her life, it was a moment that sparked into life the fruit of her primary calling. 

When I read Luke 11:27-28 it helped to clarify my thoughts about this. Jesus is teaching to a growing crowd, and Luke writes:
As he said these things a woman in the crowd spoke out to him, "Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts at which you nursed!" But he replied, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"
I love the way that Jesus underlines Mary's primary calling - to hear the word of God and obey it - without dismissing the reality of what this meant for Mary. She became Jesus' mother precisely because she was obedient in response to God what God asked of her, and being Jesus' mother was an important thing; just not the most important thing. Jesus words help us to understand what our priorities should be.
The act of calling into being is one of creation. When God creates us, He calls us. The very fact that we are alive, means we are called by God, and He is more interested in who we are becoming, how our character is developing than in what we do. Of course what we do is still important, but how we are doing it is more so. Perhaps then as we seek to grow as disciples walking alongside one another, one of the best questions we can be asking each other is "What is God saying to you at the moment? And how are you responding to that?" As we do this we can help each other grow in our primary calling of hearing and obeying God, because we all need help to do this.


  1. I like this! I agree that we are called to whatever God asks of us first and foremost.
    I've just been reading about the funeral of the founder of the Moonies - Sun Myung Moon - the BBC report said he believed Jesus told him to set up God's kingdom on earth. If this is a genuine claim, why do we then say his eventual doctrine was wrong. How do we make sure once we've heard God's calling we don't then go off and do our own thing...? It's a challenge to me to keep hearing and obeying God as a constant cycle, rather than just one off incidences...

    1. Good question! I think that this is where it becomes most critical for us to be in community. Having accountable relationships where we can test what we think God is saying and call each other to account is key. In the end if what we are doing, saying and thinking is 'bigging up' Jesus rather than ourselves then we are probably on the right track.