Galatians 1:16b – …in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.
Can you imagine if a well-known religious terrorist devoted to capturing and killing Christians claimed they were now a Christian and wanted to start attending your church? That’s pretty much what happened when a man named Saul became a Christian and had his name changed to Paul.
In addition to salvation, God gave Paul a brand-new calling as the apostle to the Gentiles. The people he had previously hated, he was to now love. Today, this may not seem like a big deal, but within Judaism, the Gentiles were considered the kindling for the flames of hell. Now, we were going to be adopted into the family of God.
Paul pursued his calling tirelessly. He walked upwards of twenty miles a day, nearly died, spent time in jail on more than one occasion, was shipwrecked, homeless, beaten by a mob, stoned, and left for dead, only to get up and head back into town to preach the grace of God some more. There is a big difference between a calling and a job:
- What you were made to do by God.
- God calls you into the role, and man confirms God’s calling.
- You love what you are doing, so it is what you want to do and get to do.
- When you pour yourself out for your God-given calling, it is life-giving.
- Something you do to get by.
- Man calls you into the role, and man confirms you for the role.
- You likely don’t love what you are doing, so it is what you have to do.
- When you pour yourself out for your job, it is life-draining.
What’s the difference between a calling and a job? Oftentimes, it’s not what we are doing but who we are doing it for. When we do something unto the Lord, it becomes a calling that has higher meaning and purpose than just the task at hand. Colossians 3:23-24 says it this way, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
For the first thirty years of His life, Jesus’ calling was to help his dad Joseph with a carpentry business. For the last three years of His life, Jesus’ calling was to preach, teach, heal, lead, die, and rise. In his own ministry, some days Paul was called to preach the gospel and write the Bible, and other days he was called to pay the bills by making tents. All of life is ministry and becomes a calling if done unto the Lord.
How can your current job/responsibilities be seen as a calling from God?