God calls Jeremiah and ordains him as a prophet to the nations even as he was very young (Jer 1:5). Jeremiah’s life was one complete story of fulfilling this central purpose of his life that was even bigger than himself. Os Guinness defines calling as 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. This calling is by God, to God, and for God. Oswald Chambers’ famous quote, “Be absolutely His,” speaks beautifully about the calling of God—having a deep inner sense that there is nothing and no one above God and that everything we do finds meaning only under the umbrella of this one devoted life to God. This call becomes the reason for our life as it resonates in the deepest recesses of our heart where no other call or longing can reach, helping us to see and reach far more than we can ever imagine. And it infests even the menial jobs we do with a sense of the splendour of the divine, providing the storyline for our lives gripping us by something within us that can never be shaken off.
Everything we do becomes very important when we know that we are part of God’s bigger vision and story
A long time ago, I never realised this poignant call on my life and was walking in the opposite direction to that call. I was in a place where I had lost my identity and significance and felt like a prisoner in my own mind. My perception was dimmed, and my fist was pounding against God as I walked towards the path of suicide. Self-help books offered no solutions. I never knew that my little story is part of God’s big story. I never knew that I had supreme value in God’s eyes. I never knew that the Creator of the Universe had been pursuing me with unending love. One day, almost 15 years before, God revealed His love in a dramatic way, while I was dying of pneumonia and was on a ventilator. I had a vision of the Cross and the blood from the Cross flowing down as it covered my sins, and I heard a voice say, “I am giving you a new life” three times. This vision changed my life. Though many questioned the validity of my vision, they could not deny the transformation, as they saw a totally transformed person in me, abounding with joy and peace. That is the power of meeting the ultimate reality; that is the power of hearing the call of God– you are no longer the same.
It is healthy to have a positive attitude towards our work because our credibility at the workplace may win us a hearing among our colleagues.
The deepest part of my heart longed to be bound together with God in some heroic purpose. In this wandering pursuit of answering the call of God, I often wondered whether I had to leave my secular job to fulfill this call of God, and I was waiting for that opportune moment to come. But as the years passed by, God made it clear to me through many ways, that every true follower of Christ would be moved to wonder by the mystery and grace of God’s calling even in the day-to-day jobs they do. Everything we do becomes very important when we know that we are part of God’s bigger vision and story. God created humans as well as nature and made us in His creative image so that we could engage with God’s world using our creativity so that we can reflect the beauty and glory of the Creator. This provides a coherent approach to work excellently ‘in the marketplace’ as His follower, whether we are a pastor or a domestic helper or a school teacher or an entrepreneur (Gen 1:28, 2:15; 1 Cor 10:31). In his book, The Call, Os Guinness quotes from a letter of Justin, the apologist from the second century, that the wooden plows made in the carpentry shop of Joseph and Jesus in the first century were still in good use in the second century! This obviously means that Jesus was not twiddling His thumbs waiting to enter full-time ‘Christian’ work. It is healthy to have a positive attitude towards our work because our credibility in the marketplace may win us a hearing among our colleagues. It is better to find out how to respond to God’s call where we are already before finding out, “where is God calling me to?”; the current calling may change or take fresh direction, but it is God who always initiates and makes the first move.
Responding to the call in the workplace is to work before the audience of One—God, and for His approval, while all others work for the approval of friends, relatives, and bosses. When this Audience of One, trumps all other audience, we will not be affected by man’s praises or frowns but pay the utmost attention to this One Powerful Audience. Pandita Ramabai’s quote beautifully sums it up: “A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret.”