In his compelling book, The Call, author Os Guinness reminds us that at some point every one of us confronts the question,
“How do I find and fulfill the central purpose of my life?”
Sometimes, in our more quiet, reflective moments, we all wonder, “Am I fulfilling the purpose for which I am her on earth?” As Ralph Waldo Emerson reflected, we all yearn, “to leave the world a bit better.”
Truth is, regardless of our age, our professional status or our income levels, the human search for significance is ubiquitous,
In some way we all desire to have and to fulfill a purpose bigger than ourselves, to make a difference, to leave a legacy. We want to know that when we come to the end, we won’t discover that the ladder of our lives we were climbing was leaning up against the wrong wall.
Or as Jesus put it, “What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?” (Mark 8:36)
Of course, for the atheist this talk is all nonsensical. For the God-denier there is no ultimate meaning and purpose to our materialist existence brought about by chance. In this cold worldview, existence is essentially as purposeless as Shakespeare wrote, “Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Modern poet Ed Sissman said it this way,
“Men past forty,
Get up nights,
Look out at city lights
Where they made the wrong turn
And why life is so long.”
But for the authentic Christ-follower, each day can present new vistas and exciting opportunities for us to live out the soul-satisfying call which our Creator has vested deep within us,
“Do all things for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
I like Guinness’ definition of the grand call.
“Calling is the truth that God calls us to himself so decisively that everything we are, everything we do, and everything we have is invested with a special devotion and dynamism lived out as a response to his summons and service.”
For some of us, God’s summons may bring a spectacular life change, as it was with Moses when he responded to God’s call at the burning bush. (Exodus 3)
For some, his call may mean stepping out of our comfort zone in service to the common good, as Esther did, thwarting a genocide in response to God’s call when Mordecai challenged her with the question, “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4)
Recently a good Corpath friend of mine discovered again that answering the call of our Creator is the ultimate “why” for our living.
He had served God faithfully over the years in his family, his church, and through his business endeavors. But now his career had come to an end. He knew a retired life of ease on the golf course would be a slap in God’s face.
So, when the suggestion came that maybe he and his spouse should devote the next chapter of their lives and their resources to serving God in a way he never had dreamed, he perked up. Perhaps this was God’s summons to a new venture, to a continuation of divinely energized purposeful living fit for this time.
This new summons from God would mean disruption, dislocation, and denial. It would mean pulling up stakes and moving to a Muslim-dominated (99.9%) new country. It would mean using his gifts in study to become a teacher of English as a second language. It would mean bearing down and learning basic Arabic.
But get this…when I talk with him, there is a smile on his face, and an infectious energy in his voice. God’s summons will do this.
The searing question, “Why am I alive?” is an existential plague for many. But not for the Christ-follower. Quite the contrary. Who knows what God has up his sleeve for each one of us today, this year, this next decade?
Because of His love, we know his call means God’s best for each of us. To what is he calling you? Is it the summons to have a spiritual conversation with someone? Or a push to change careers? Or invest more of your time and resources for his kingdom?
Whatever it may be, as my Corpath friend is discovering again…it’s an exciting life when we hear the summons, open the door, and step into a world of devotion and service to our Lord.
Blessings as you respond to his divine summons.