by Alex Van Dromme

Have you ever felt like something in your life was just meant to be? Maybe that it occurred in such a way, that it was too clear to ignore. For myself, the decision to train to become a pastor was that moment in my life. There was a combination of people in my life who said I had certain qualities for the pastorship, there were opportunities to lead and teach from the Bible in high school, and my Bible reading very often carried me to a desire to teach and care for others by the Word of God. In a word, I would say that this is my calling from God.

Oddly enough, this is not the first time I have been called by God. The first time was when I was called by his Word and accepted his grace and became a follower of Christ. I would call this my primary calling. Primary calling is the calling by God to be in relationship with him, it is the first step which God makes to take a sinner and make them clean by the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for those who are lost. My calling to the pastorship then, I would say is my secondary, or vocational calling. That type of calling is simply the manner in which God has me serving people for his kingdom, as anyone in their own vocational calling has the capacity to do, like a lawyer or a doctor. 

We learn from this week’s reading that the disciples of Jesus have been “called” to follow him. There are many instances of this case happening in all of the gospels, though depending on the gospel, the instance is used for different purposes. For example, in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), the calling of Matthew (also Levi) is used to show that Jesus came for the sake of sinners, for the sick need a doctor, not the healthy (Matt 9:27-31, Lk 5:27-31, Mk 2:13-17). John however, does not use Matthew’s calling, but Nathanial’s, to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Jn 1:49), as fits with John’s purpose of his gospel that “you may believe” in these things (Jn 20:31). Another important point with the disciple’s calling is that often the gospels note that they went “immediately” or “left everything to follow him” (Lk 5:11, 28, Mk 2:14, Matt 9:10, 4:20). [1]

I would contend that the calling of the disciples is both a primary and secondary calling, for they are called into faith by Jesus, and they spend their lives vocationally in ministry to share the gospel to the ends of the earth. The question for readers to ask is, have we been called into a relationship with God? And if so, are we being called by God into a vocational career of some kind? We may not know clearly why God is calling us into a certain direction, but it is not our duty to doubt or be stagnant in the midst of his calling, rather we are to faithfully and immediately obey as his disciples did. If you are struggling with your own vocational calling, I would recommend a few steps:

1) Continue in reading the Bible and prayer over your life, asking for God’s wisdom and guidance.

2) Talk to a pastor, parent, teacher, etc. (someone who knows you well) about what they believe are your strengths and weaknesses that could affect your vocational calling.

3) When a door opens, don’t hesitate and ignore it, allow the Spirit to lead you where you need to go.

My prayer for all of us is that we would have a heart and mind that is so actively seeking the Lord that the presence of his will in our lives would not be unfamiliar, but that it would be a warming comfort in our lives. God bless and have a great week!

[1] For those who desire further reading on the calling of Jesus’ disciples, and how it relates to our calling as disciples, I recommend Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship”. It ranges between $10-$20 on different sites and was very beneficial in my own growth as a Christian.