Life is full of decisions, big and small. Shall I homeschool my children? Can we afford the time and cost of Jamie being on that elite sports team? Shall I look for a new job? What career is best for me and for my family? Should I respond to that “help wanted” blurb in the church announcements? Should I offer to be room mother one more year? I wonder if I should get a gym membership or buy an exercise machine or just go jogging. Can I squeeze a visit with Sherry into my schedule next week?
How many of these questions are spiritual questions? Actually, they all are. They are discipleship questions because a disciple follows their Lord 24/7. They are vocational questions because God has given us our vocations as a member of our family, as an employee, and as a part of our church and our community. They are stewardship questions because all we have – our money and possessions, our time and our talents – belong to God and are to be managed for His purposes. They are questions about serving Jesus in the totality of life.
Every question we have about using our time, our energy and our resources can be summed up in the single question, “Lord, what are you calling me to do?”
Jesus called people to follow Him. His call was all-encompassing. “They [Peter, James and John] left everything and followed him” (Luke 5:11). “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). “In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).
With the challenging words come words of promise. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28). “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things [clothing, food] will be given to you as well” (Matt. 6:33). “Ask and it will be given to you” (Matt. 7:7). “And surely, I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20).
So our Lord Jesus has a stake in all our daily-life questions involving the time and talent and resources he has given us. And he promises to guide us in all these areas. But the questions are still difficult, and he doesn’t often write the answer on the wall, and he doesn’t encourage us to put out fleece as Gideon did (Judges 6:36-40). So how do we know what he is calling us to do?
The church — our fellow believers — is a big part of the answer. Here we gather to hear God’s Word and respond in praise and prayer. In worship, we receive him in the sacrament of Holy Communion and are regularly reminded that we are baptized. In small groups, we help each other apply God’s word to the specific questions we face. When we gather to work together, or to have food and fun, we have opportunity to share both our joys and challenges. An intentional effort by church leaders to help people serve, within and beyond the church walls, automatically opens up many opportunities to help people face specific questions about serving Jesus at church, at home, at work and in the community.
In a recent 4-week emphasis on serving, my home congregation encouraged all of us to consider and pray about the ways we are serving. We designed a small group Bible study to help people answer serving questions from a stewardship perspective. An edited version of those studies is available for free download here. A worksheet “Lord, What are You Calling me to Do?” is specifically designed to help people find out what God is calling them to do. Feel free to use these tools. Then share your feedback and help us all learn more about serving, and about helping each other serve.