Many people struggle with God’s calling on their life. We are tempted to think that if God wills something for us, he’ll make the path super-clear and super-easy. But when we hit fog and the gravel, we can grow uncertain about God’s lead. So at some point, each of us asks questions like:
- What does God want me to do?
- Should I say "yes" or "no"?
- Do I keep pursuing this direction?
- Is that what God has for my life?
You’re not alone if you’ve grown unsure of your calling. Ignacio, also known as Nacho Libre, the lucadore, found himself wondering the same thing. (Yes, I know it’s just a movie, and it’s a cheesy one at that- but I like it so just be patient with me). At one point, after losing another battle in the ring, Nacho grew quite concerned about why God did not seem to be blessing his way. Why was it so hard for him to do what he thought God wanted him to do?
Well, Nacho eventually did become secure about his calling to wrestle. And the way he did find security should be very interesting to us.
First, he prayed: "Precious Father, why have you given me this desire to wrestle and then made me such a stinky warrior?"
Second, he couldn’t let go of the yearning. No matter what testing he faced, he couldn’t let go of his holy angst; he knew deep down that God wanted to do something through him to make things right in the world.
Third, Nacho’s heart was refined. He came to comprehend that God wanted him to serve his calling, rather than be served by his calling. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve seen too many "pastors" fall because they thought they were entitled to some reward or privelege for being called to ministry.
Fourth, Nacho learned to trust God’s way of working. Once he understood that he wasn’t supposed to pursue his calling on his own, in isolation, Nacho was free to pursue what he was called to pursue. Nacho finally placed his trust n God’s plan and in the partnership of his loyal friends, Esqueleto and Encarnacion.
In Acts 13:1-3, Barnabas and Paul discover God’s calling after spending much time wrestling with their hearts, practicing their faith, praying with others, worshiping God and listening to the Spirit. It is a whole community of believers that confirms their calling and commissions these two on their way. What a difference this makes!
A calling from God is never forced and it is not often done in isolation. Occassionally a lone champion-servant will be raised up. But usually, even for the greatest apostles or prophets, a calling from God is heard and confirmed in the context of community. Their calling was apparent to those closest to them who were right in the thick of ministry and life wth them. Paul and Barnabas never had to say, "Look, God has called us… so support us." Paul and Barnabas were immersed in their intimate community, with whom they practiced life and faith daily, when the call from the Holy Spirit came.
This is good stuff. Not so cheesy after all, is it?