Calling is a great big, deep, often mysterious thing. It’s the answer we seek to the oft-recurring question we ask: “God, what do you want me to do with my life?” And calling is also some small, mundane, plain and daily thing. It can be tied to one’s job (like, “God’s called me to be a surgeon . . . or a missionary or a pilot or a writer or a farmer”). It can be completely separate from one’s employment (like, “God’s called me to volunteer in children’s ministry” or “God’s called me to be a parent” or “God’s called me to be an AIDS activist”). It can be linked to passions, hobbies, and interests—like art, gardening, music, writing, cooking, woodworking, dance, or fishing. And, as Leslie reminded us last week, it can be connected to our afflictions. Even cancer or widowhood or a learning disability or a failed marriage or chronic pain can flow into a calling: A calling to bless, to listen, to mourn with those who mourn, to act in compassion, to offer words of mercy.
And calling can also be all wrapped up in totally un-special and seemingly un-spiritual daily tasks—like dusting, changing diapers, sorting laundry, grocery shopping, sorting recycling, and paying bills—because these tasks are all wrapped up into larger callings of love: Loving family, blessing neighbors, receiving God’s gifts with gratitude, living in integrity, stewarding God’s world well. Consider this claim from Puritan William Tyndale (quoted in my book Embrace Your Worth): “As touching to please God, there is no work better than another. . . . Now if thou compare deed to deed, there is [a] difference betwixt washing of dishes and preaching the word of God. But as touching to please God, none at all.”
So God’s calling, like a brilliant thread, weaves in and out of the multitude of other threads that make up the fabric of our lives: our work, our hobbies, our gifts, our passions, our ministry, our abilities, our relationships, our daily tasks, and even our weaknesses and our suffering.
What is your calling? God invites us to pray through this concerning the question of God’s guidance in our life — to continually try to discern our big-picture calling and obey that calling in surrender and obedience. But I believe God also invites us to enjoy our calling: to find joy and share joy by doing whatever it is he’s given us to do, big and “spiritual” or small and normal.
By jamming on the accordian like the happy guy in the photo above. By writing a poem or baking brownies or delivering a fantastic punch line. By playing a sonata or weeding a garden or nailing a layup. By laughing hard with friends or couponing to the extreme or reviewing the chart of a now-healthier-patient. By training for the Mini or reading stories to your own “minis” or teaching 4th graders to sing.
Today . . . do your thing!
Do it with God. Do it well. And do it with joy.