I was recently asked about my calling and where I see myself with regard to Christian ministry.
In thinking about how to respond to this question, it comes to me that whatever the answer is, it must be rooted in the two great commands to love God and love neighbor.
First, I must confess that I feel very deficient in fulfilling either of these commands. Or, perhaps more correctly, I don’t do very well at either of these commands in my own strength. I have much to learn about how to more deeply love God and others.
Like our first parent in the Garden, I often try to find excuses for my failures to love. I could point to people that are critical, difficult, indifferent, or hostile to me as those who make it impossible for me to fulfill this command. But, in reality, the failure is my own fault. I have no legitimate excuse.
The fact that difficult people are in my life does not provide a reason to be unloving. That person whose criticism of me seems to be non-stop, also should be loved and not avoided. Those persons who have unrealistic expectations that they place on me; they should be loved also.
If I love those who love me back, Jesus remains unimpressed. If, on the other hand, I love the ones who don’t deserve it, that is another story. Jesus even went so far at to tell us that even our enemies should be loved.
The point of this ramble is that any idea of Christian calling needs to be rooted in these two commands. These commands are a good starting point to figure out what I am being called to do in life.
So, for today, I want to go back to basics and meditate on these two commands and look for opportunities to follow them. Some questions I’m asking myself:
- Am I taking the time in Scripture reading, meditation, and prayer to deepen my relationship to God?
- Am I willing to be open with others about my relationship with God?
- Am I willing to see other people the way God sees them? (Hint: like me they are flawed, but created in the image of God and therefore valuable)
- Am I willing to forgive the faults in others and seek to see the good in them, trusting that God is working in them to accomplish his purpose?
- Am I willing to be inconvenienced when someone needs help? Or, am I like the priest and Levite in the story of the Good Samaritan?
- Am I actively looking for opportunities to love God and others or am I consumed by getting my own (perceived) needs met?
The list of ways the two great commands should be applied is seemingly endless.
But building any sort of “ministry” or calling without this foundation would be a waste of time and effort.
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