“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” Genesis 1:27-31 (NIV)
There is an unbiblical theme permeating the Church today which elevates the callings of pastors and “full-time missionaries” above “secular” vocations. If you’re an entrepreneur, photographer, artist, salesperson, doctor, musician, lawyer, or janitor, you have likely sensed this often unspoken hierarchy of callings.
Dr. Benjamin Quinn of Southeastern Theological Seminary says, “I [have been] awakened to the problem of the pulpit-pew divide—the centuries-old chasm between those who occupy the pulpit and those who occupy the pew. The physical space between pulpit and pew in worship spaces is necessary for practical reasons. The metaphorical space between the ‘ordained’ and the ‘ordinary’ in the church, however, is unfortunate and unbiblical.”
This pervasive idea that there is a hierarchy of callings for Christians is simply out of line with Scripture. When God created Adam and Eve and put them to work in the Garden of Eden, they weren’t donor-supported missionaries. Adam was called by God to be a gardener, a cultivator, and a branding agent. Jesus spent 85% of his working life as a carpenter and small business owner before he launched his “full-time ministry.” The highest calling on your life isn’t necessarily being a pastor or missionary; it’s glorifying God and serving others in whatever work God has called you to do.
Even if you are able to tear down the man made hierarchy of callings in your head and in your heart, the fact remains that “calling” is one of the most confusing ideas in the Christian life. How can your work feel like a vocation—a true calling on your life? What does the Bible have to say about the work God has uniquely equipped you to do? What are the best questions to ask when discerning your calling? Those are the questions we will seek to answer over the next three weeks.