Have you ever thought of God’s will for your life? Everyone is created to achieve a purpose but we must all study, listen and pray to discover this purpose. I discovered something really important, God’s calling on our lives is not to a specific job but instead to a specific way of living.
As I began to process this new perspective that God had given me, a natural question came up—a question that you may be wondering too. What about all of the examples in the Bible of “specific calling?” What can we learn from those stories?
Let’s take a quick look at Noah, Abraham, Jonah, and Paul, and see what we can glean from their specific callings.
Noah: Noah was called to build the ark and rescued the world. Uh wow! Talk about a big deal. Yet if we examine Noah’s story closely, we discover something interesting. The whole ark thing, was actually a very small part of Noah’s story. According to the Bible, Noah was around 500 years old when God told him to build the ark. The Bible also tells us what Noah did for the 500 years leading up to his “specific” calling. “Noah was a righteous man who walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). The whole ark thing? Was like a sixth of Noah’s life. It lasted a few years. The bigger story was that Noah was a righteous man who walked with God. I wonder if that’s supposed to be the big story of our lives too?
Look at Abraham—was Abraham called to a specific job? No. He was called to move to a specific land. God did not call Abraham to a specific job. God called Abraham to move to a specific place, and to honor God with the way he lived his life.
Consider Jonah—If you want to be specifically called by God, you should go back and read the story of Jonah. Jonah wanted nothing to do with what God called him to do. Instead, Jonah got on a boat and sailed away from his calling. He tried to get to the far side of the known world so that he didn’t have to do what God called him to do. But God forced Jonah to obey, and after Ninevah repents, Jonah’s specific calling is completed.
Finally, look at Paul. Even Paul was a tentmaker. Were there towns where Paul didn’t make tents? Probably. But the very mention of Paul’s trade is a compelling example of the point we are discussing—that God’s specific calling is not to a specific occupation, but to a specific way of living.
God may call you to do something specific, and if he does, you better do it or you might be swallowed by a big fish. Okay, it may not be that extreme. But I don’t think you and I should be focused on pursuing a specific call to a specific job. Instead, you and I should be like Noah, Abraham and Paul—focused on walking with God. And if we do that—if we focus on walking with God, instead of on discovering a specific calling for our lives—we may get to a point where God sees our obedience, and asks us to do something specific.
Daniel Ryan Day