Call, Mission, and Missing the Point

imagesIn life there is much talk about the word call. Well, I should qualify that statement, in the United States of America, in certain Christian circles there is a lot of talk about call.

Where am I called?

To what am I called?

To whom am I called?

What if I’m not living out my call?

This is what I’m called to!

This is where I’m called!

I can’t do that because I’m not called to those people.

I can’t serve there, it’s just not an issue I’m called to.

I have been known to throw these phrases around with the best of them. I have sought long and hard after call and location and work. I know the seemingly ever present strive to be obedient to the “call” placed within me.

While I’ve been in Spain something unexpected has happened for me. I have so incredibly easily adapted to the culture that many around me have said that it’s like I was born Spanish. Some have wondered if there is call on my life to Spain because of how easily I’ve been able to connect with people. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with someone who alluded to me fitting in Spain so easily and wondered what God was going to do with that. Though it was not asked, I felt a question, do you think it’s God calling you here?

Though I believe that God calls people. It is clear and it is something I’ve witnessed, but I think we’ve twisted it so that much of what our true call is has been lost along the way.

Call, in many ways, has become equal to career. I am doing that to which I am called, is a phrase often used when one describes their career of choice.

In Spain, I’ve only been asked one time what it is that I do for a living. Two months, many new friends and ONE TIME, I’ve been asked what I do. That is a far cry from the reality of life in the States. As a result, I myself have stopped wrestling significantly with call. Instead, I’ve taken time to do the good I know I’m to do. James talks about that in his letter in the later New Testament. He says, “To him who knows the good he is to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Today I wonder if we miss the good we are to do because we are so busy chasing call?  I wonder if we miss the good we are to do, because we are chasing significance?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend where we talked about how easy it is to be and to know that every conversation has significance when outside the borders of the US. In two months, my striving for the perfect living out of call has ceased. I am not chasing after significance. I am, instead, realizing the significance I’ve been living.

As a church culture in the states we strive so much. I wonder if we miss the point? Have we missed discipleship and mission because we’ve been searching for personal significance? Have we missed Jesus because we’ve been searching for his call on our lives? Have we missed people and moments because we’re looking for the largest impact possible?

I’m sure I have.

Last week I sat with a man who owns a restaurant that we frequent. We’ve become friends over my months here, though he speaks little english and I very little spanish. He had seen me meet with the students one on one and asked if we could do the same thing. So here I was, sitting in a coffee shop, having a conversation about life and our stories and I was able to ask questions prompting thoughts about his journey personally and spiritually. The conversation was powerful, even through a translator.

He left and I felt overwhelmed by the significance of the moment. I wasn’t standing before a crowd. I wasn’t training large numbers of people. I wasn’t rescuing a thousand people from horrific life situations. No one in the coffee shop would have even taken notice. But this moment, these two hours were incredibly signifiant.  These two hours actually have the potential of being a catalyst for life change in him and therefore life change for all with whom he comes in contact. Every [single] person who has a changed life, encouraged heart or new spirit alters eternity! Therefore, this moment, was incredibly significant to the world.  And, this moment was the significant I was to give my life to.

This significance, this moment, was not tied to a career. It was not tied to a people group, culture or country. But it was the good I knew I was to do. He was the person in front of me to love, not because I’m called to full time mission’s in Spain, but because as one who follows after the way of Jesus, I have no choice but to love, invest and listen to those around me.

Being a minister is not a call. Being a missionary is not a call.  Being a friend is not a call. NO! And, I believe we must stop using our words to describe them as such. Being a minister, sharing the story of the good news, and loving people are a part of the identity we’ve been given as children of a good King and as such they are a part of the good we know we are to do.

I did not go on a mission trip to Spain. I simply came to Spain to live, to learn, to teach and because I am now here and the people around me are all Spanish and it is mine to love them, to serve them, to give to them, to tell them the story of good news and to minister. Because I’m called to Spain? NO! But simply because I’m here and because I’m a child of a good King who has given us the incredible opportunity to love and give to those around us, no matter where we happen to be.

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One thought on “Call, Mission, and Missing the Point

  1. Hey Cari: Always a joy to hear from you and also hear what God is showing you. And that He is!! I love the sentence: Wherever you are, be there! Be there sharing the love of Jesus through a caring attitude of love! You are so right on that it is easy for us to get caught up in “what is our call, what is it that God wants next for us!” Probably nothing, but to continue to be the person we are since we have met Jesus in our hearts versus just the mind.

    I love you dear one. Missing you.

    Lynn Dennehy cell: 703 338 5783 Ldennehy@intfriends.com ________________________________________

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