Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XVI • No. 11 • November 2002
LEE HOTCHKISS, Executive Director <> LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder
Many of us in ministry can quite readily identify with the late Dr. Peter Marshall, pastor and chaplain of the US Senate, as he describes his call to the ministry as a tap on the shoulder. I, too, can speak of a compelling call . . . both to the pastorate (as a young man) and to our current overseas ministry almost seventeen years ago. Many biblical characters were called and commissioned into their life's ministry similarly as Peter Marshall and me . . . and Moses, Isaiah, Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Paul. In each case they had an encounter with the Lord. They lived the rest of their lives in the light of that event when God personally and convincingly called them.
The September 21st issue of NEWSWEEK carried an article by Martin E. Seligman, which was excerpted from his book, LEARNED OPTIMISM. He noted that many scholars have observed that there are three kinds of "work orientation" . . . jobs, careers, and callings. As I read what he had to say, I was inwardly coaxed to do some more study about work . . . specifically jobs, careers, and callings.
JOBS are done for the reward of the paycheck. When the paychecks cease, the employee quits.
CAREERS are more involved. Along with the wage incentive, these things also figure into the mix: prestige, power, achievement, and status. You are on the upward climb of the ladder.
CALLINGS are the most rewarding types of work. Seligman says that a calling is a passionate commitment to work. It carries the element of "destiny" indicated by these feelings . . . I must do this . . . I was born for this purpose, for this moment. Most of us in ministry do our work with this sense of calling. We can point to a time and place when we heard the call and we entered into our calling convinced that we, too, like Peter Marshall had a tap on the shoulder from the Lord.
Some years ago a farmer told me that he was leaving farming and going into banking. As he shared his story with me, we both agreed that he had indeed heard the voice of God. He proceeded into banking with the same conviction and certainty that many ministers claim . . . including Moses, the Apostle Paul, and Peter Marshall.
The Scriptures often give guidance to us in our approach to life, ministry, vocation, and everything else. Listen to these words of instruction from the pens of Paul and Peter . . .
And whatsoever you do, do it heartily as unto the Lord. - Paul
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. - Paul
Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. - Paul
If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised, through Jesus Christ. - Peter
Occasionally individuals have asked to speak to me about their ministry assignment. Especially when difficult times enter their lives, troubling questions often arise. Some "ministry-wives" are hampered if they do not sense the call that their husbands sense. Both Evie and I have helped individuals "own" their call . . . to claim it. We need to truly know that HE has called us and placed us. As believers, all of our work is to be related to Him. In all of our work, we need to have both a "God-orientation" and a "people-orientation." With His help, our work can rise to be more than merely a job or a career. Often our talents and gifts, together with needs that we see, will help us to be keenly aware and sensitive to His voice.
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