catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 2, Num 19 :: 2003.10.10 — 2003.10.23


Claim your calling

There was a short time in college when I felt that my life would not be worthwhile if I did not dedicate myself Mother-Theresa-style to helping the poor, abandoning all creature comforts to go hungry with the hungry and speak for the voiceless. And then I read Major Barbara.

The classic play by George Bernard Shaw details the conflict of a young major in the Salvation Army as she tries to reconcile her desire to help the poor with the need for donations from her wealthy munitions-manufacturing father. Ultimately, she discovers that the community of comfortable middle-class workers in her father’s factory is just as much a mission field as the masses of the poor, who are all too easily persuaded to faith by “the bribe of bread.” It’s those whose homes are fully furnished and whose stomachs are full—those convinced they have everything they need—who are truly starving for the Good News. Imagine my relief as my dream (at that time) of helping average, work-a-day Christians appreciate and create good art was validated. Spiritual food, I discovered, was just as necessary as physical food.

Though the practical details of my dreams have changed, the heart of my commitment has not. I feel called to disciple Christians in the practical aspects of living out faith, of asking and answering the question, “So I’ve accepted Christ. Now what?” And I’m committed to doing that even as I discover my own answers to that question.

I’m just barely beginning to understand my role as a leader in this area. As one close friend advised when I was expressing my frustration at having so many commitments, “You’re a leader. Get used to it.” While I don’t want to experience the burn-out that many leaders suffer and as I do what I can to avoid that, I am experiencing another syndrome of leadership: extreme self-doubt. Lately, it seems that every day I find myself standing barefoot before the burning bush, claiming I’m too young, too selfish, too tired, that I haven’t read enough books, enough Scripture to be worthy of leading God’s people out of exile. I’d almost rather my protests were false modesty than what they really are: fear. Like Moses, I fear that people won’t believe me when I tell the truth, that I’m not gifted enough to do the work being asked of me, and ultimately, that I’ll screw the whole thing up.

Fortunately, God has sent not one but many like-minded individuals to assist in this mission, and each one has equal gifts and experiences that complement the others. My organizational and writing skills are complemented by Grant’s passion for philosophy and Rob’s technical knowledge, not to mention the gifts of many who are contributing to *cino in other ways by being generous or prayerful or punctual or insightful or committed or truthful… It’s amazing to imagine what the body of Christ could do if each part were fully and radically obedient to its calling.

But then, in the middle of imagining, I find that it’s already happening. Individuals are working hard at home and abroad, with the rich and with the poor, in neighborhoods and in nations to spread the Good News, to do justice, and to inspire joy. I hope that as *cino matures, it will provide support for those already engaged in a calling and encouragement for those who have yet to take that step of discipleship.

For those of you who haven’t claimed a calling yet or who feel like your current work is not an adequate use of your gifts, I would encourage you to spend some time in study and prayer, evaluating your gifts, experiences and passions to determine what you were ultimately made for. Each of us has a responsibility to live a unique and purposeful life, to fulfill our function in the body with skill and excellence. And if we do so, the promise is amazing:

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is Christ. For from Him, the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Eph. 4:13-16)

Basically, if we do what we’re supposed to do, there’s no reason to be afraid; the brain of this body is the Savior of the world! And to bring it back to my bouts of self-doubt, in boldly discovering what I’ve been created to do, I’m discovering what I was not created to do: single handedly save the world. We are all created for unity in the faith, to harmoniously cultivate the kingdom as one huge, diverse, beautiful organism. Figuring out if we’re the tough but sensitive toenail doing the necessary dirty work or the left ventricle nourishing and encouraging all of the body’s parts is just the first step.


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