Monday, April 30, 2012
Several years ago I heard a Christian radio program (no, my memory does not contain the station nor speaker) discussing need versus calling. The world around is full of needs.
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (Matthew 25:35-36 KJV)
Those needs exist in our world and it is our responsibility to be aware of them and care for the hungry, thirsty, strangers, unclothed, ill or imprisoned. Those who do not were also included in following verses:
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41 KJV)
But – no individual can do it all. God has given each of us a path. Paul used the example of a Christian married to an unsaved person – perhaps their actions, their examples, would bring their loved one to the Lord. Changed though we are, we continue on our path:
But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. (1 Corinthians 7:17 KJV)
The calling may not address but one specific need, helping to keep us from being overwhelmed by the vastness of the world’s needs. We’re to follow instructions for His purpose:
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9 KJV)
It is difficult to stand by and watch the needs flow around us when we know there is so much to be done, but we do need to be certain we are responding to God’s plan for our lives, His calling us to serve, instead of choosing that which seems right to us.
It is detrimental to the butterfly to assist it out of the cocoon. There are exercises that must be done in order for the wings to open fully, for the butterfly to be able to fly. There’s such a line for us, too, in helping others. Yes, stomachs must be filled, thirst must be sated, bodies must be covered, illness must be treated and we cannot allow prisoners to fade from our memories and their lives.
We are not, however, called to do it all. We are called to do His purpose. Paul knew his:
Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (2 Timothy 1:11 KJV)
Often it is not easy to see past needs to our specific calling, so we should keep asking. Even Paul knew how difficult this could be:
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33 KJV)
We can be certain:
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. (Romans 11:36 KJV)