When we have received a call from the Lord, our lives will bear the fruit of it—the fruit of assurance, ownership, pure motivation and seeking only the Lord’s approval.
Assurance. When you know God has called you, you walk in that assurance. No person or difficulty can deter you or make you turn back. You are certain that He who called you will be faithful.
Consider Joseph as one example. He stayed assured of the promise of God even when his brothers threw him into the pit and sold him to the Egyptians (see Genesis 37:23–28). He ended up in the dungeon and many years were lost, but nonetheless, nothing could stop his brothers from bowing down to him as prime minister of Egypt for 43 years! Why? Because the Lord had placed that call upon his life!
Ownership. Not only is there that absolute assurance in the life of one called by God, but there is a sense of personal ownership as well.
The difference between someone who is called and someone who does something because it is a profession is this sense of ownership over the work. The one who is called says, “It is my Jesus’ kingdom. It is my burden. If I receive some kind of financial help, that’s great. If I do not, no problem. I don’t care. I will do it anyway.” It is the call that gives you the motivation to journey on. Salary and benefits do not compel you; difficulties do not sway you. The knowledge that God is faithful and that He has called you is enough.
Pure motivation. Those who know they are called serve because of the knowledge of that calling, not because of the benefits they may be able to receive in the ministry or because of the salary they are provided. If your salary were stopped and your benefits discontinued or if nobody encouraged you through the provision of material things, would you continue the journey, saying, “I will keep on going as long as I can until, though I fall and die, I have finished my job”? I am honestly asking you: What would your response be?
When we are motivated by the knowledge of our calling, it also affects our personal lives and our relationships with those we serve with. Oftentimes, “the ministry” is marked by bickering, murmuring, jealousy, arrogance, comparison of self with others and internal strife. Hundreds of workers are destroyed along the way because they rationalize and justify that kind of behavior. The character of such a workman is fallen and flawed, seeking and motivated by something other than the calling of God. The person who knows he is called by the Lord acts differently.
The Lord’s approval. The person who knows he has been called by the Lord for the work of the ministry seeks only the Lord’s approval in all the work he does. In 2 Timothy 1:3 (TLB), Paul says, “My only purpose in life is to please him.” Is that your goal too? Is pleasing God the compelling motivation of your life?
The Moravian movement of the 18th century, founded by Count N.L. von Zizendorf, has the following inscription on its seal: “Our Lamb has conquered. Let us follow Him.” In the middle of the seal is a little lamb carrying a flag with a cross across it.
The Moravian movement was known for its commitment and zeal in preaching the Gospel. It was said that for every church at home in Germany, they had three more overseas. The church was a fishing pond from which they sent out missionaries.
Earlier in his life, Count Zizendorf had been strongly drawn to the classical pursuits of art, music, painting and the acquisition of riches. But one day he was so gripped with the reality of Christ dying on the cross for him that he gave his life completely to Him and heard His call to serve Him. It was out of that call that he wrote, “I have one passion. It is He, He alone.”
Is Jesus your sole passion? Do you know you have been called by Him for the work of the ministry? Does your life show the reality of that calling and burden? May we all seek to please Him alone, that all of our decisions, emotions and daily steps would be controlled by this one factor: “I am called by the Lord. He has chosen me. I am not my own, but His. I will follow Him all the days of my life.”
Has He called you? Does your service reflect it? Can He count on you?