"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

1/19/09

Monday Manna - Callings


Welcome to Monday Manna. Twice a month (once at my blog and once at {dancing} in the margins) we meet together to contemplate, ruminate, and share on a specific scripture. It can be brief thoughts, a picture, a poem, a short story, a devotional--whatever. The idea is to chew on the same scripture and learn from each other.

This Monday's scripture is Isaiah 6:8: the calling of the prophet Isaiah. Looking forward to seeing what this scripture has inspired in all of you.

My thoughts are below:

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I have often wondered (especially when I was doing something unpleasant, hard, or dirty) "is this fill-in-the-blank really God's calling for me?"

"Is cleaning poopy underpants the work the Lord has created me to do?"

"Does he REALLY want me to work in the nursery?"

"Am I truly supposed to be writing a check to this organization? Is that truly where God has called me to send my money?"

I'm sure you've asked these questions as well.

Well, there is one thing I've learned over the past week--mostly from a daily devotional on our "Monday Manna" verse. There are actually (at least) two kinds of callings from God.

One--the one we think of more often--is like the calling many from both the Old and New Testaments received.
This type of call is a specific one, to a specific person or persons.
Adam and Eve were called to "be fruitful and multiply."

Noah was called to build the ark.

Abraham was called to be the father of many nations.

David was called to be a king of Israel.

The Twelve were called to be Jesus' disciples.

Paul was called to be an evangelist to the Gentiles.

People today get called this way too sometimes. God may impress on your heart a need to perform a specific ministry, serve someone in a certain way, or do some other act. It often seems that a specific job is tailor-made for your God-given gifts and talents. And, perhaps it was (or you were made for it!).

But there is another type of calling too--one we are often much less likely to notice, much less follow. This is what I will refer to as a "general call."

This is the call Isaiah answered in Isaiah 6:8. Let's read it again, closely.
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8 NIV
God didn't approach Isaiah--as he did Adam, Paul, and others--and tell him "I have called you to go." He didn't necessarily make this prophetic ministry specifically for this wonderful prophet of God (as He did for Jeremiah, for instance). No, the Lord put out a blanket call, so to speak, and waited to see who would answer.
And Isaiah did. He answered the call, which then became his calling.
How often do we skip or overlook opportunities for blessing because we don't feel God tapping us specifically on the proverbial shoulder to perform a task? Do we avoid ministries we don't feel prepared for because God didn't perform a miracle to ready us for it?

But if we are not sensitive to His voice, we will not hear this type of call. And if we don't hear it, we won't answer it, and we will miss the blessing.
"God did not direct His call to Isaiah--Isaiah overheard God saying, '...who will go for Us?' The call of God is not just for a select few but for everyone. Whether I hear God's call or not depends on the condition of my ears, and exactly what I hear depends on my spiritual attitude....If we will allow the Holy Spirit to bring us face to face with God, we too will hear what Isaiah heard--"the voice of the Lord." In perfect freedom we too will say 'Here am I! Send me." Oswald Chambers: My Utmost For His Highest, January 14
I want to hear, and answer, God's calls of this type. Don't you?

Heavenly Father, help me to hear Your calling, whether it is specifically for me, or a general call You desire for me to answer. Give me the discernment and wisdom from Your Holy Spirit to "overhear" Your holy call to serve. And, Lord, give me the faith and courage to say, as Isaiah did, "Here I am. Send me." In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.


Thanks for reading. Be sure to check out the other participants in this edition of Monday Manna, and feel free to blog on your own thoughts and link up below in the Mr. Linky gadget. (and if you DO link up, I'd REALLY appreciate a link back to my blog so folks can find the rest of the "manna.")

12 comments:

  1. Great insights! I love the way different people can approach the same texts from different angles, and yet each can bring truth out of it!

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  2. This is right on target for where I am in my call right now. I have been placed smack in the middle of a group of Christian writers who are in need of encouragement.

    I have responded obediently and as a result have been so blessed by them and their walk.

    I take as much joy in seeing them blossom and grow and finding their own voice as I do in my own "successes for Christ.

    We must listen with our hearts and our souls to hear God's call upon our lives.

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  3. I love your angle on this one. Great post.

    Vickie

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  4. Wow-that really does put a different light on it! I'm so glad you picked this one!

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  5. Mr Linky is working again - I think he needs some coffee! Here's my post.

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  6. Or not! I'll try that again - I obviously need more coffee, too!

    http://undergraceovercoffee.typepad.com/andrea/2009/01/monday-manna-send-me.html

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  7. How often do we skip or overlook opportunities for blessing because we don't feel God tapping us specifically on the proverbial shoulder to perform a task? Do we avoid ministries we don't feel prepared for because God didn't perform a miracle to ready us for it?

    Uh, can I run and hide now?

    INCREDIBLE wisdom and insight, and I really appreciate the closing comment from Chambers as well. Are you sure you didn't choose this verse because of me? Huh? ;0 Love it, Jo!

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  8. Great post, Joanne! What wonderful words of wisdom offered! I really enjoyed reading this one. Lot's to think about. Blessings!

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  9. I never thought about it this way! What an amazing insight...

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  10. I just keeping thinking about something Beth Moore said a few years ago (not sure which of her studies, etc.), but it revolved around our sense/need of God's calling upon our lives. To paraphrase, she said, "you just keep pressing into God, keep going after him, and you will run smack-dab into your calling."

    I think about that when I'm in the midst of my mundane, trying to do all things as unto the Lord. Keep trying to "practice the presence of God" as Brother Lawrence wrote.

    I know that the "main course" is right now, not our there. What I choose to do with my life today is what matters to God the most. Tomorrow will bring its own share of doings.

    peace~elaine

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  11. Great job, Joanne! I'm joining in on this meme for the first time, even though I'm very late in doing so (I worked all day today, so I got a late start). Loved the topic, though, and how it can be approached so differently.

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  12. Boy, and sometimes, though "general" callings are the toughest ones to stick with. But there's always a season to start and a season to end...and only God knows the whys of the timing. Great insight, Jo.

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