“Live Your Call”
As many of you know, earlier this month I was on a continuing education trip in Colorado as part of something called the Anglican Leadership Initiative. There was much that I learned as part of that week in the Rocky Mountains, but I think the most impactful thing I learned was embracing and resting in my unique calling and gifting.
Now, every Christian has the same overarching call, which is to be a child of God. Under that call, however, are many different and unique callings for each of us, which require different and unique gifting. I used to think I wasn’t that covetous because I didn’t look at other people’s material items and wish for them. Scales have fallen from my eyes, though , and I see that there are plenty of other things we can covet. I’ve found that when it comes to covetousness, I break this commandment by coveting other people’s gifting and callings. I compare my unique calling and gifting, and instead of being content, I look over at others and wish for theirs. In my case, I particularly covet other Rectors’ callings and gifting.
In Ephesians 4:11-12, Saint Paul wrote,
And [The Lord] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ
This passage refers to what the Church has often called the “Fivefold Ministries.” Generally speaking, leaders in the church fall into one of the categories principally. I realized long ago that I am principally a shepherd or pastor, but for some reason I have been insecure about being a Rector who is principally a pastor. That may sound ridiculous, and it probably is, but I fell pray to the notion that in order to be a proper Rector, one needed to be an apostle or prophet or evangelist. I suppose I felt this because the Rectors whose callings and gifting I coveted most fell into these categories rather than that of a pastor like me.
That’s what I have struggled with, but I’ve met with enough of you to know that coveting other people’s callings and gifting is something with which we all struggle. While up on that mountain in Colorado, God spoke clearly to me that I must embrace the unique gifting he has given me and trust that it goes right along with my unique call, and Brothers and Sisters, if it is true for me, it is true for you.
Saint Paul is very helpful on this point in chapter 7 vv. 17 and following of his first letter to the Corinthians. Here is some of what he writes there:
Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. . . . Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. . . . So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.
As a child of God, what is your unique gifting and call? If you don’t know, pray to the Lord to reveal it to you, and lean on your brothers and sisters in the Body to help you discern it. If you do know already what your unique gifting and call are, then embrace and rest in them. God has a great purpose in that unique gifting and call he has for you. To covet another’s gifting and calling is to reject the will of God, and that will not bless you or anyone else in your sphere of influence for that matter. If, however, we will each live our call as God has ordained, then together we will be a powerful force for his Kingdom here at the Cathedral, throughout this neighborhood, city, and beyond.
Heavenly Father, you have created us and gifted us in many different and beautiful ways. You have also called us into unique places in order that we might exercise our unique gifts. Please help us to embrace and rest in just what you have given and where you’ve called us to be. Deliver us from the temptation of coveting others’ gifting and calling, and use us mightily right where you’ve placed us. By your Holy Spirit, please empower us to live our call with contentment and joy, all to your glory and honor and for the furthering of your Kingdom. Amen.