I began journaling this past week. It seemed like God kept leading (or pushing) me to this, because in the past couple of weeks various voices (I don't mean the strange kind in your head, but rather articles, chapters in books, conversations, etc.) kept telling me I should practice journaling. I've tried it before, but never stuck with it. But this time I'm approaching it differently, thanks to the example of my good friend Colter who inspired me when I saw him with his journal everywhere he went, taking notes in it during classes and small group sessions, church, etc. So instead of keeping a journal on my desk and desperately trying to set aside a time to write my thoughts, I just take it everywhere and jot down whatever I feel like putting in it. So far I really like it. At my age, I need to jot down any thought I think is worth keeping, or else it is quickly gone.
So here's a thought from my journal, which I took from Dr. Dave Bland's lecture notes in the class I'm currently taking: Our role as ministers is "to equip the church to be a priesthood of believers who have a profound sense of calling from God." I love that latter phrase: "a profound sense of calling from God."
Have you thought of your life in such terms? Do you feel a sense of being called by God? Maybe that is not language you are used to. Maybe you think it is language just for prophets in the Bible, or just for preachers or those who go into full-time ministry. Of course, all Christians have been called by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2.14). But we are also all called to ministry (Ephesians 4.12: "the work of the service" = "the work of the ministry"). We each have different gifts and talents, and different life situations in which to respond to God's call. But that calling ought to be profound for each of us, as profound for you and me as it was for the prophet Ezekiel or Jeremiah or the apostle Paul.
"Profound" means "1. penetrating or entering deeply into subjects of thought or knowledge; having deep insight or understanding; 2. originating in or penetrating to the depths of one's being." Have you discerned such a call from God? Has it sunk deep into your being so that it defines who you are? It doesn't have to be an audible voice or direct command or a vision like it was with the Biblical prophets. God calls us through experiences, mentors and models in our life, the word of God, our life situation, and the Holy Spirit working on our hearts. Those things all work together to bring us to a place of responsibility and stewardship as servants of Christ.
I love to climb mountains. Whenever I see one, it's like it calls to me. And that calling is profound. It has penetrated deep into my being. It defines who I am (at least in part). Likewise, I feel that God has called me to serve him by teaching, preaching, and exhorting with the word of God in various ways. He has called me to church planting. He has called me to lead a wilderness Bible camp in Canada called ARWC. He called me to China and that call still is strong on my heart. Ministry and service cannot simply be a career choice. It has to be a calling. But whether you do it full time or not, whether it it involves teaching or leading or showing mercy or giving liberally or taking care of physical needs or whatever (cf. Romans 12; Acts 6), every Christian needs to hear God's call, and to let it penetrate deeply into their being.