I first wrote about something like this in one of my early blogs, “Overwhelmed by need, focussed by hope” which was more specifically about my trip to Thailand two years ago. There I witnessed so many disabled and needy children cramped into government homes with such sparse care available to them, and was needless to say a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.
It’s possibly hereditary in my case – tending to see a lot of the need that proliferates throughout the world in so many spheres, and feeling helpless to do much about it. I have been learning a very important lesson though. I can’t remember where I first heard it, but it’s starting to take hold in my heart…
Essentially, it’s obvious: no one individual can deal head-on with every human dilemma that exists in the world in their lifetime. That is an impossible task. But there is a story told (true? I don’t know) of a young boy who early one morning came across a beach strewn with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore. Feeling for the fish, he stooped down, picked one up and threw it in the sea.
After some time a man came along and saw the huge expanse of the beach covered in these fish, and at one corner this boy slowly carrying out his dutiful task. He came down and said to the lad, “That’ll never work. Look how many thousands of starfish there are all across this beach. What you’re doing – it won’t make any difference.”
At which, the boy shrugged, bent down, picked up another starfish, and flung it back into the sea, gazing after it. Then he turned to the man and said, “But it made a difference for that one.” And he bent down and picked up another, and in like manner threw it into the waters. “And it made a difference for that one.”
Excuse my slight enjoyment of creative language there. I’ll put it away again.
So, you see the picture I’m working with for what I have been coming to learn. I can’t make a difference for everyone in the world. But, I have a calling. And for the people and the situations that the Lord has told me to go to, I can make a difference.
This is important. Too often I (and I’m sure many readers) can feel like they want to do SOMETHING but often feel powerless. But, when you are operating in your calling, what you know the Lord has given you to do, you get this enormous sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. And the exciting thing about calling, is that there is anointing for it too. So, there’s no one better to do exactly the job that YOU’RE called to do. God will come and pour oil over you which is the grace and the gifting to fulfil your calling.
So, for me, it’s been a lot about leading people in worship. This may seem fairly plain to some; for me, it is everything. I know I’m gifted in that area. I have passion for it. And I know that God has anointed me for it – when I have led, I have seen Him move in people’s lives and had testimonies afterwards of how He has touched them through the worship – and that blesses me. It’s not ABOUT me – it’s about Him. When I have been becoming discouraged lately, overwhelmed in view of all that there is to accomplish in setting the world aright with Jesus, He has spoken to me so clearly that I am to function in my gifting to lead worship, as a way in to fulfilling my calling. Since He spoke this to me, I have led worship four times in about two and a half weeks, and each time there has been something special that has happened, there has been a much more natural flow to the worship, people have been quicker into the presence of God. And this has so confirmed His word to me – it’s such a blessing!
What is it for you? What is He saying? What are you called to? If we all really hear God’s call on our lives – and it will in some way of course be related to His heart to see the gospel of the kingdom preached in all the world as a testimony to all nations, and the extension of His kingdom through the church – I believe we will see the Lord return soon. But we ALL need to step into it.
Some have said that God is looking for one generation that He can fulfil all of that through – because with each generation new unbelievers rise up in every nation, just as do new believers. We need to cover the earth with the gospel of the kingdom in one generation, to see Him come – is it our generation? I hope so!
Sorry to not do a full biblical exegesis of what ‘calling’ is. Maybe sometime…