‘So how do you know if God is calling you into an area of ministry or service?’ the young person asked as we stirred our flat whites at Deus ex Machina.
It’s a question you are asked many times as a pastor and it is rarely as black and white as people would like.
I told some of my own story of leaving* my ‘calling’ as a journalist to take up a ‘calling’ as a pastor many years earlier. The point being that we serve God in whatever we do when it is submitted to him.
‘Usually there will be something within you, that you know is from God – an impression, a word, a conviction, that leads you forward,’ I continued.
‘Then there will be people around you, Christian leaders who recognise in you and confirm what you are beginning to see for yourself.
‘And often God will open a door or make a way of taking the first steps into this new thing.’
‘On the other hand,’ I warned, ‘a mistake people often make is to hit a wall, or to stall, in the thing they are doing now, and so start looking around to see if God is calling them into something new.
‘More often than not God intends you to learn how to break through that wall, to step into new levels of character and strength, in preparation for something further down the line.
‘It is much easier to step into new things in life having taken the time to learn the lessons and gain solid ground in the place we are in now,’ I concluded.
The Apostle Paul said, ‘Only let us live to what we have already attained‘ (Philippians 3:16) in the context of ‘Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.’ (Philippians 3:13) PH
*Actually, I never really left it…