How Do I Know?
Last week I focused the sermon on Jeremiah and how at some level, be it family, community, vocation, or God, we are called to serve and share our God-given gifts in this world. I focused on the reality that God has called all of us and that like Jeremiah, we often struggle to answer that call. We too feel inadequate at times be it with experience, knowledge, or ability. As I reminded us, God does not call the equipped, God equips the called.
On the way out of church one of our members asked me, “How do you know if you are called?” It was a great question and one that I felt that I did not have time to answer in the sermon time but one that I should address. I am not sure there is just one way to know we are called, but I have seen several ways.
For some there is a clear call, like Moses experienced with the burning bush. In his case there was little doubt. However, very few people get this kind of call. Another would be an invitation like Jesus offered to the fishermen, Peter, James and John, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of people.” This happens much more regularly where a leader invites us into a ministry. We are asked to do some discernment and say our prayers to determine whether or not we are going to answer that call.
On an internal level many people are called when they feel some level of inspiration. They have this gut feeling that they are being called to do something for God and for the church or in their vocation or family. When discerning the call to ordination, one of the key components was this continual interior pull to seek what being a priest is like, what it requires, and how to do it well. I would try to let the notion go, but it kept coming up in my thoughts and prayers. Similarly, when something that we do brings us great joy, there is a seed that has been planted that is nourished by this joy. When that happens we know we are called.
In reality, we all will experience calls or pulls upon our lives by the world and also by God. Many tend to think that they are unable to do what God is calling them to do for the kingdom. However, there is an element of faith or taking the leap of faith that allows us to try the ministry to determine whether or not we are called. I pray you will be risky in your faith, that you will try ministries for which you feel inadequate, and let God lead you. Remember that God does not call the equipped (generally), but God equips the called (always). I pray you are continually discerning what God is calling you to do and be.